Number of States With High Rates of Adult Obesity More Than Doubles

October 11, 2022 by Dan McCue
Number of States With High Rates of Adult Obesity More Than Doubles
(Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya via UnSplash)

ATLANTA — Nineteen states and two territories have at least 35% of residents with adult obesity — more than doubling the number of states with a high obesity prevalence since 2018 — according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The new data also highlights the need to address disparities in obesity across states and racial and ethnic populations, through increased access to obesity prevention and treatment.

Combined data from 2019-2021 show the number of states and territories with an obesity prevalence of 35% or higher varies widely across race and ethnicity:

  • Native American or Alaska Native adults: 31 states.
  • Asian adults: 0 states.
  • Black adults: 36 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Hispanic adults: 27 states and Guam.
  • White adults: 10 states.

Adults with obesity are at increased risk for many other serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, severe outcomes from COVID-19 and poor mental health. Additionally, many people with obesity report being stigmatized because of their weight.

“This report illustrates the urgent need for making obesity prevention and treatment accessible to all Americans in every state and every community,” said Dr. Debra Houry, acting principal deputy director of the CDC, in a written statement. 

“When we provide stigma-free support to adults living with obesity, we can help save lives and reduce severe outcomes of disease,” Houry said.

According to the CDC, the findings highlight the importance of equitable access to prevention and treatment. 

“Supporting adults with obesity and its related health issues will take a sustained, comprehensive effort from all parts of society to reduce disparities and improve the health of our communities,” the health agency said in a press release. 

“In addition, obesity is a disease for which treatment options exist, including proven weight management programs, medications, and bariatric surgery. However, there is inequitable access to proven obesity treatment in the United States,” it added.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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