Sep 15, 2021 - Health

Number of states with high obesity almost doubles in 2 years

CDC Headquarters in Atlanta, Ga.
Photo: Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The number of states where at least 35% of residents are obese has nearly doubled since 2018, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: Obesity rates in 16 states have now reached levels considered high by the CDC. That is up from 12 states in 2019 and nine in 2018.

  • Delaware, Iowa, Ohio and Texas reached the 35% threshold in 2020, the CDC said.
  • Those states join Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The big picture: Obesity in adulthood can pose several health risks such as heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes, per the CDC.

  • The CDC has warned that obesity increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

By the numbers: All states and territories have more than 20% of adults with obesity, according to the CDC.

  • Combined data from 2018 to 2020 found notable racial disparities, with states reporting higher rates of obesity among Black and Hispanic residents.
  • The Midwest and South had the highest prevalence of obesity, with both at a rate of about 34%, per the CDC.

What they're saying: "To change the current course of obesity will take a sustained, comprehensive effort from all parts of society," a statement from the CDC read.

  • "These maps help by showing where we need to focus efforts to prevent obesity and to support individuals with this disease."
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