May 17, 2023 - News

Nearly half of Louisiana residents are obese

Share of population living with obesity
Data: NORC; Chart: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios

Nearly half of Louisianans are obese, according to a new analysis from NORC, a research organization at the University of Chicago.

Why it matters: Obesity is associated with hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke and other conditions that can lead to preventable, premature death, Axios' Arielle Dreher reports.

By the numbers: An adult with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and between 25 and 30 is considered overweight.

  • 47.9% of Louisianans have a BMI of 30 or higher. Of those, 12.7% have a BMI higher than 40, according to NORC’s map.

The big picture: Obesity rates have steadily increased over the past decade nationally.

  • Obesity disproportionately impacts Black and Hispanic Americans, the analysis found.

Threat level: Louisiana is one of the top states for obesity rates and the related chronic diseases.

  • Nationally, 42.7% of adults have a BMI over 30.
  • West Virginia and Mississippi have the country's highest obesity rates at 51%.
  • The District of Columbia has the lowest rate at 33%.

Between the lines: Obesity rates are determined in part by using body mass index ranges, which have been called into question for correlating weight and health too closely, the New Yorker reports.

Of note: The NORC analysis was produced with funding from Novo Nordisk, a producer of both insulin and popular weight-loss drug Ozempic.

  • NORC's analysis and mapping tool used findings through 2021 based on telephone surveys by the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios New Orleans.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More New Orleans stories

No stories could be found

New Orleanspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios New Orleans.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more