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Three States Weigh In as Fattest in the Nation


ATLANTA -- About one in three residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia are obese, which makes these the fattest states in the U.S.

ATLANTA, Sept. 15 -- About one in three residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia are obese, which makes these the fattest states in the U.S.

But the rest of the nation is not far behind, according to a CDC report in the Sept. 15 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Americans are fat and getting fatter.

State-specific obesity data collected by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which is an ongoing random digit-dialed telephone survey of U.S. adults, found that 60.5% of the U.S. population in 2005 was overweight, 23.9% was obese, and 3.0% was extremely obese.

Men were slightly more likely to be obese than women and the greatest obesity prevalence (33.9%) was among non-Hispanic blacks.

Among the findings:

  • In 2000, only 28 states had an obesity prevalence of less than 20%, down from 50 states during the period 1995 to 2000.
  • For the decade ending in 2005, obesity prevalence increased significantly in all states (P<0.01).
  • In 2005 only four states-Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii and Vermont-had obesity prevalence of less than 20%.
  • In seventeen at least 25% of residents were obese, a figure that included Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia where 30% or more of residents were obese.

Overweight was defined as a body mass index of 25 or more, obesity as a BMI of 30 or more and extreme obesity as a BMI of 40 or more.

The authors pointed out, however, that the state data were based on self-reported weight and height obtained in telephone interviews, which may underestimate the true prevalence of obesity since people tend to under report weight, over report height or both.

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