America's obesity crisis, mapped

Editor's note: This popular story from the Daily Briefing's archives was republished on May 14, 2019.

More states reported adult obesity rates of 35% and higher in 2017 than in 2016—and the highest prevalence of obesity was among adults ages 45-54, according to CDC data.

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The CDC's Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps show the percentage of obese adults in all 50 states. The reported showed at least 35% of adults in seven states were obese in 2017, up from five in 2016. Those seven states were:

  • Alabama;
  • Arkansas;
  • Iowa;
  • Louisiana;
  • Oklahoma;
  • Mississippi; and
  • West Virginia.

In addition, 22 states plus Guam and Puerto Rico had adult obesity rates between 30% and 35% in 2017 in 22 states.

Only two states—Colorado and Hawaii—reported adult obesity rates between 20% and 25%.

The CDC report stated that race played a significant role in obesity rates, with obesity rates at:

  • 38.4% for non-Hispanic blacks;
  • 32.6% for Hispanics; and
  • 28.6% for non-Hispanic whites.

The risk of obesity was most pronounced among non-Hispanic blacks: In 31 states, at least 35% of the non-Hispanic black population identified as obese.

There was also a noticeable difference among adults with varying education levels, with obesity rates at:

  • 35.6% for adults without a high school degree or equivalent;
  • 32.9% for high school graduates;
  • 31.9% for adults with some college; and
  • 22.7% for college graduates (Walker, MedPage Today, 9/12; CDC Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps).

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