According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health, the states with the top five obesity rates are:
- Mississippi - 34.9 percent
- Louisiana - 33.4 percent
- West Virginia - 32.4 percent
- Alabama - 32.0 percent
- Michigan - 31.3 percent
The rates reflect the percent of the population with a body mass index of 30 or higher. Body mass index is a calculation based on weight and height ratios. You can find your body mass index here.
The rates in the report were based on CDC data (part of the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey).
The top five "skinniest" states?
- Colorado - 20.7 percent
- Hawaii - 21.8 percent
- Massachusetts 22.7 percent
- New Jersey 23.7 percent
- California - 23.8 percent
From the group's issue brief:
“Obesity has contributed to a stunning rise in chronic disease rates and health care costs. It is one of the biggest health crises the country has ever faced,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, TFAH executive director. “The good news is that we have a growing body of evidence and approaches that we know can help reduce obesity, improve nutrition and increase physical activity based on making healthier choices easier for Americans. The bad news is we’re not investing anywhere near what we need to in order to bend the obesity curve and see the returns in terms of health and savings.”
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder gave a policy speech last fall about the state's struggle with obesity saying "too many Michiganders smoke, are overweight, and don’t exercise." In that speech he called Michigan's health care system "broken." He also set a personal weight reduction goal for himself in the speech - something he's still working on.
Last year the state ranked 10th in the nation in obesity. The Trust for America's Health notes year to year comparisons are difficult because of changes in the CDC's methodology.