- While obesity rates held steady in most U.S. states from 2014 to 2015, four states — Minnesota, Montana, New York and Ohio — saw them decline, according to a new report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
- This marks the first time in the past decade that any state has seen adult obesity rates drop.
- Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, among other health conditions, and it was recently linked to 13 types of cancer.
While the news is promising, obesity remains a major problem and health cost driver in the U.S., with about 38% of Americans meeting the criteria. Richard Hamburg, interim president and CEO of Trust for America’s Health told reporters on a conference call that excess weight consumes $147 billion in healthcare spending annually.
“In 1980, no state had an obesity rate above 15%. This year, every state is above 20%,” he said.
According to the report, four states have obesity rates over 35% and 25 had obesity rates over 30%. Louisiana’s is the highest, at 36.2%, followed close behind by Alabama, Mississippi, and West Virginia.
The state with the least adult obesity is Colorado, at 20.2%. Only two states - Kansas and Kentucky - saw obesity rates increase during the studied year.