From Our 2012 Archives
State Obesity Rankings: No Winners
Even in Leanest U.S. State, 1 in 5 Is Obese
By Daniel J. DeNoon
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Aug. 13, 2012 -- At least 1 in 5 people is obese in every U.S. state, the CDC reported today.
In the most obese states -- Mississippi and Louisiana -- more than 1 in 3 people is obese. But 10 other states are close behind, with more than 30% obesity among adults.
The findings come from the CDC's annual self-report health survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System or BRFSS.
Are Americans more obese than last year? Maybe, maybe not: The numbers can't be compared, because the BRFSS changed since last year, reaching out to people who only have cell phones and using a better system to analyze the data.
Both those things mean the statistics should be more accurate -- but also make comparisons to earlier years meaningless. The new 2011 data will be the baseline to which future BRFSS reports will be compared.
The CDC doesn't actually ask anyone whether they're obese. They ask their height and weight instead. This lets researchers calculate their body mass index or BMI. Obesity starts with a BMI of 30.
Here are the CDC's state-by-state obesity levels, listed in order of obesity:
SOURCES: Deb Galuska, PhD, associate director for science, division of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity, CDC, Atlanta. CDC web site.Deb Galuska, PhD, associate director for science, division of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity, CDC, Atlanta.