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The States With the Highest (and Lowest) Obesity Rates

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The States With the Highest (and Lowest) Obesity Rates

Obesity in the United States continues to rise, and the problem does not appear to be getting any better. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the national obesity rate rose again in 2013 to 28.3% of the adult population. The growing epidemic is placing an increasingly greater burden on our health care system, and according to a 2013 study, the annual obesity-related health care costs are estimated to be as high as $210 billion.

Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on obesity, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 states with the highest and the 10 states with the lowest obesity rates in 2013. West Virginia and Mississippi tied for the worst obesity rates in the country at just over 35% of adults. Colorado remained the state with the least severe problem, with an adult obesity rate of 21.3%.

Obesity is a complicated issue, and a wide range of factors can contribute to the problem in a given area. Diet, not surprisingly, plays a major role. All but one of the 10 states with the highest obesity rates were in the bottom 10 for daily fruit consumption, and adults in all of the 10 states were less likely than the average American to eat vegetables on a daily basis. The data show that exercise is just as important as diet. The nine states with the lowest rates of physical activity had the nine highest rates of obesity.

Diet and exercise, however, are not the only elements that can affect obesity rates. The CDC explains that a variety of social and economic factors also can contribute to high obesity rates. For example, lower-income families are less likely to be able to afford healthy foods. Each of the states with the highest obesity rates had above-average poverty rates.

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