How fat is YOUR US state? Map shows 40% of people in West Virginia and Kentucky are obese


More than four in 10 adults are obese in Kentucky and West Virginia, as numbers skyrocket in the US, new official data shows.

Nineteen states now have obesity rates above 35 percent — considered an alarming threshold by officials — which is double the number in 2018.

The numbers, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prompted experts to describe the situation as an “urgent epidemic.”

Only one of the 54 US states and territories – Washington DC – now has an obesity rate of less than 25 percent, compared to three in 2018.

CDC Deputy Director Debra Houry said the new data “illustrates the urgent need to make obesity prevention and treatment accessible to all Americans in every state and every community.”

President Joe Biden last week announced his plan for the biggest crackdown on waistlines in 50 years, including mandatory nutrition labeling on the front of food products to highlight snacks that are too fatty, sugary or salty.

And with the new plans, the criteria for food manufacturers to market their products as ‘healthy’ will also become stricter.

According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the US after cigarette smoking. Approximately 280,000 Americans die each year directly from obesity.

Fattest US States (% of Adult Population Obese)

  1. West Virginia (40.6%)
  2. Kentucky (40.3%)
  3. Alabama (39.4%)
  4. Oklahoma (39.1%)
  5. Mississippi (38.7%)
  6. Arkansas (38.6%)
  7. Louisiana (38.6%)
  8. South Dakota (38.4%)
  9. Ohio (37.8%)
  10. Missouri (37.3%)

Least Fat US States (% of Adult Population Obese)

  1. DC (24.7%)
  2. Hawaii (25%)
  3. Colorado (25.1%)
  4. Massachusetts (27.4%)
  5. California (27.6%)
  6. New Jersey (28.2%)
  7. Washington (28.8%)
  8. Vermont (29%)
  9. New York (29.1%)
  10. Rhode Island (30.1%)

Karen Hacker, director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said access to healthy diets, exercise and obesity treatment programs “can slow and ultimately reverse the obesity epidemic.”

West Virginia, one of the poorest states in the country, has an obesity rate of 40.6 percent. It was followed by neighboring Kentucky (40.3 percent).

California, Washington, Colorado, New York and Vermont were among the states with the lowest levels of obesity in the country.

In 2018, there were eight states with an obesity rate above 35 percent, and by 2020 it had doubled to 16. According to the latest data, black Americans are most likely to be obese, followed by Hispanic and then white people.

Men are more likely to be obese than women, and so are less educated people.

The relationship between obesity and money is complex, as middle-income people are more likely to be obese than the highest and lowest incomes.

The CDC figures are based on self-reported height and weight data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Monitoring System. There wasn’t enough data to determine a rate for Florida, the CDC said.

But the Florida Department of Health reports that 36 percent of adults in the state are medically overweight, meaning it would join the 19 states with high obesity rates.

Obesity is defined as an adult with a BMI of 30 or higher.

A healthy person’s BMI – calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters, and the answer again by height – is between 18.5 and 24.9.

The condition costs the U.S. health care system about $173 billion a year, as obesity increases a person’s risk of a number of life-threatening conditions.

Such conditions include type 2 diabetes, which can cause kidney disease, blindness, and even limb amputations.

Obesity also increases the risk of heart disease, which kills 647,000 in the US each year – making it the leading cause of death.

Carrying dangerous amounts of weight has also been linked to strokes, serious consequences of Covid, poor mental health and 12 different cancers.

This includes breast, which affects one in eight women at some point in their lives.

Obese people also describe being stigmatized because of their weight.

In children, research suggests that 70 percent of obese youth have high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol, which puts them at risk for heart disease.

Obese children are also significantly more likely to become obese adults. And if children are overweight, their obesity in adulthood is often more severe.

As many as one in five children in the US attend school who are overweight or obese.

Obesity should be considered a brain disorder like autism or ADHD, doctors argue

Obesity should be classified as a brain development disorder, doctors say.

That would put it in the same class as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Asperger’s.

They made the recommendation after a study indicated that obesity was caused in part by changes in the brain during childhood.

Obesity is currently considered a behavioral disease – a pattern of destructive choices people make that damage their health.

But Dr Harry MacKay, of the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, said rethinking this “could hold the key to stopping the global obesity epidemic.”

The new study in mice looked at epigenetics, the brain development system that determines which genes will and will not be used in different cell types.

The Texas researchers found that a part of the brain called the arcuate nucleus undergoes many epigenetic changes in early childhood.

During this time, the brain is also particularly sensitive to programming, which will later determine how well it can regulate body weight.

This means people can pile on the pounds later in life if changes in the arcuate core during childhood go awry, the researchers said.

When the researchers compared the areas of the brain where the changes occur in mice and humans, they were surprised to find that the location in rodents overlaps with the part in humans associated with obesity.

The researchers also found that these changes are more likely to occur in women than in men.

dr. MacKay wrote in the study, “We believe that public health interventions to curb the global obesity epidemic would benefit from considering obesity as a neurodevelopmental disorder.”

The experts have called for further research into the role of epigenetics and the development of obesity.

It is hoped that this may open the door to new ways to screen and treat the disease.

The findings were published in the journal Advances in Science.