State obesity rankings: No winners

Even in Leanest U.S. State, 1 in 5 Is Obese

In the most obese states -- Mississippi and Louisiana -- more than 1 in 3 people is obese. But 10 other states are close behind, with more than 30% obesity among adults.

The findings come from the CDC's annual self-report health survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System or BRFSS.

Are Americans more obese than last year? Maybe, maybe not: The numbers can't be compared, because the BRFSS changed since last year, reaching out to people who only have cell phones and using a better system to analyze the data.

Both those things mean the statistics should be more accurate -- but also make comparisons to earlier years meaningless. The new 2011 data will be the baseline to which future BRFSS reports will be compared.

The CDC doesn't actually ask anyone whether they're obese. They ask their height and weight instead. This lets researchers calculate their body mass index or BMI. Obesity starts with a BMI of 30.

Obesity State-by-State

Here are the CDC's state-by-state obesity levels, listed in order of obesity:

RANK, STATE, % OBESE

1. Mississippi 34.9

2. Louisiana 33.4

3. West Virginia 32.4

4. Alabama 32.0

5. Michigan 31.3

6. Oklahoma 31.1

7. Arkansas 30.9

8. Indiana 30.8

8. South Carolina 30.8

9. Kentucky 30.4

9. Texas 30.4

10. Missouri 30.3

11. Kansas 29.6

11. Ohio 29.6

12. Tennessee 29.2

12. Virginia 29.2

13. North Carolina 29.1

14. Iowa 29.0

15. Delaware 28.8

16. Pennsylvania 28.6

17. Nebraska 28.4

18. Maryland 28.3

19. South Dakota 28.1

20. Georgia 28.0

21. Maine 27.8

21. North Dakota 27.8

22. Wisconsin 27.7

23. Alaska 27.4

24. Illinois 27.1

25. Idaho 27.0

26. Oregon 26.7

27. Florida 26.6

28. Washington 26.5

29. New Mexico 26.3

30. New Hampshire 26.2

31. Minnesota 25.7

32. Rhode Island 25.4

32. Vermont 25.4

33. Wyoming 25.0

34. Arizona 24.7

35. Montana 24.6

36. Connecticut 24.5

36. Nevada 24.5

36. New York 24.5

37. Utah 24.4

38. California 23.8

39. District of Columbia 23.7

39. New Jersey 23.7

40. Massachusetts 22.7

41. Hawaii 21.8

42. Colorado 20.7

SOURCES: Deb Galuska, PhD, associate director for science, division of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity, CDC, Atlanta. CDC web site. Deb Galuska, PhD, associate director for science, division of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity, CDC, Atlanta.

© 2012 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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