Latest U.S. obesity data released: These are the fittest states, says the CDC

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FILE – This April 3, 2018, file photo shows a closeup of a beam scale in New York. A study released on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, found U.S. preschoolers on government food aid have grown a little less pudgy, offering fresh evidence that previous signs of shrinking obesity weren’t a fluke. Obesity rates dropped to about 14 percent in 2016, the latest data available and a steady decline from 16 percent in 2010, researchers from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

(ABC4) – The latest data shows all states and territories have more than 20% of adults with obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States in the Midwest and the South have the highest rates of obesity among adults while states in the West and Northeast have the lowest rates.

The 2020 Adult Obesity data from the CDC is based on data self-reported to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. It relies on data from 2018-2020.

According to the CDC, among the 35 states and territories with sufficient data, none had an obesity prevalence of 35% or higher among non-Hispanic Asian adults. Seven states among 49 had an obesity rate of 35% or higher among non-Hispanic White adults while 22 among 49 had an obesity prevalence of 35% or higher among Hispanic adults. Additionally, 35 states and D.C. – among 48 states and territories – reported an obesity prevalence of 35% or higher among non-Hispanic black adults.

The latest information shows obesity prevalence decreases by level of education with adults lacking a high school degree having the highest self-reported obesity. Here’s a breakdown of obesity prevalence by education, per the CDC:

  • No high school degree or equivalent: 38.8%
  • Some college: 34.1%
  • High school graduates: 34%
  • College graduates: 25%

Additionally, the CDC has found young adults are half as likely to have obesity as middle-aged adults.

On the state level, 16 states have 35% or more adults with obesity while 20 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico have 30% to less than 35%. Just three states have an obesity prevalence among adults between 20% and 25% – Colorado, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. The District of Columbia is also among that group.

Here is a state map showing the prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults courtesy of the CDC:

Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State and Territory, BRFSS, 2020. See map details in table below.
Prevalence of self-reported obesity among U.S. adults by state and territory, 2020. (CDC)

Here are the 10 states and territories with the lowest prevalence of obesity among its adult population:

  1. Colorado: 24.2%
  2. D.C.: 24.3%
  3. Massachusetts: 24.4%
  4. Hawaii: 24.5%
  5. New York: 26.3%
  6. Vermont: 26.3%
  7. New Jersey: 27.7%
  8. Washington: 28%
  9. Oregon: 28.1%
  10. Florida: 28.4%

Utah landed in the top 15 fittest states coming in 13th with 28.6%, just behind Montana (28.5%) and Nevada (28.7%). These are the five states with the highest prevalence of obesity among self-reporting adults:

  1. Mississippi: 39.7%
  2. West Virginia: 39.1%
  3. Alabama: 39%
  4. Louisiana: 38.1%
  5. Indiana: 36.8%

While Utah did not make the top 10 fittest states, the Beehive State does have among the lowest rates of obesity prevalence among non-Hispanic Asian adults and non-Hispanic White adults. Among its Hispanic adults and non-Hispanic Black adults, Utah has between 30-25% prevalence of obesity. These rates remain the same as they were from 2017-2019.

To view the full report, click here.

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