Sep 20, 2021 - News

Colorado’s obesity rates rank lowest nationwide

Prevalence of self-reported obesity
Data: CDC; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Colorado recorded the lowest number of adults with obesity in 2020 compared with all other states, according to new CDC data.

By the numbers: 24.2% of Colorado adults reported having obesity last year.

  • Mississippi ranked highest nationally, at 39.7%.

Why it matters: Obesity is linked to a number of health complications, ranging from heart disease and cancer to increased risk of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

  • Numerous studies have found connections between obesity and mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

The big picture: Since 1995, Colorado has tallied the lowest or second-lowest obesity rate in the U.S.

Yes, but: The prevalence of obese people in Colorado climbs every year. In 1995, only about 11% of adults in the state reported experiencing the health condition.

  • Black and Hispanic Coloradans suffer from the highest obesity rates at about 31% compared with 21.8% of white adult residents.

Zoom in: When it comes to obesity rates among children in Denver, a first-of-its-kind analysis in 2016 found that neighborhoods with large populations of Hispanic residents are more likely to be home to children with higher body mass index scores.

  • Other neighborhood traits linked to obesity include low educational attainment and family income.
  • Of note: Nationwide, children and teens gained weight at a more "alarming" rate during the pandemic, especially those who were already overweight or obese, a CDC report out last Thursday shows.

Zoom out: The number of states with steep obesity rates has nearly doubled since 2018 — hitting all-time highs.

  • Other states with the highest prevalence of obesity include Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.
  • Alongside Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia scored relatively low obesity rates last year, with levels between 20% and 25%.

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