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The Fattest States in America

Make sure you also check out the fittest states in America.

1. Mississippi – For the seventh straight year, Mississippi ranked No. 1 in the nation, with an obesity rate of 34.4%. Other unhealthy No. 1 rankings: highest rate of obese children and teens ages 10 -17, highest rates of hypertension and physical inactivity. Obesity is linked to poverty. Mississippi is the nation’s poorest state. Back in 1995, Mississippi ranked No. 1 for obesity — but its rate then was just 19.4%

2. Alabama – Southern cooking is known for fried chicken, fried okra, fried apple pie, and the like.  And this high-fat diet is a likely factor in Alabama’s obesity rate of 32.3%. Alabama also had the biggest jump in diabetes and hypertension in the past 15 years, which are linked to obesity. But slimming efforts are under way. In Scale Back Alabama, an annual weight loss competition, about 30,000 Alabamans lost almost 200,000 pounds last year.

3. West Virginia – While they rank third for obesity — at 32.2% —  they are No. 2 for being couch potatoes. More than three in 10 West Virginians are physically inactive, according to the report.

4. Tennessee – The state seems stuck at the top of the obesity rankings, as 31.9% of its residents are obese. Tennesseans also have high rates of hypertension and diabetes, health problems that are often associated with obesity.

5. Louisiana – Louisiana remains among the top 10 fattest states with obesity at 31.6% for adults.

6. Kentucky – Home of one of the nation’s major fast-food chains, Kentucky is a fast-food capital. In a 2.8 mile stretch of Louisville, for example, there are 24 fast food restaurants. The obesity rate for the state’s adults is 31.5%. Kentucky ranks third for the most obese 10- to 17-year-olds, with a rate of 21%.

7. Oklahoma – Every state has seen a steady rise in obesity in the past 15 years, but Oklahoma’s increase was the greatest — from 12.9% to 31.4%. The state ranks lowest in fruit and vegetable consumption and among the highest for sedentary lifestyles.

8. South Carolina – Obesity in South Carolina was in the national spotlight in 2009 when a mother was arrested for neglect because her 14-year-old son weighed 555 pounds. That same year, it ranked third for the greatest number of obese high school students. This year, an adult obesity rate of 30.9% puts it in the top 10 fattest state.

9. Arkansas – The obesity epidemic is nationwide, but it’s greatest in the South and among blacks and Latinos. Arkansas was the first state to pass a law to address the epidemic. Parents receive annual reports on the body mass index (BMI) by age of their children, along with nutrition and activity tips. Yet Arkansas still ranks 9th overall with adult obesity at 30.6%. It has the 7th highest percentage of obese children, ages 10 to 17.

10. Michigan – Obesity grew in 16 states over the last year including Michigan, now the 10th fattest state, with an obesity rate of 30.5%.

This article was originally published in WebMD. Check out the full slide show, including the fittest states in America.

WebMD: Better information. Better health.




  1. Pingback: The Fittest States in America « The Loszach Blog - February 29, 2012

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