Obesity is considered an epidemic in the United States. Obesity is when an adult has a BMI of 30 or greater. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 39.8% of Americans were obese in 2015-2016, approximately 93 million people.
Bodyweight is the result of several factors such as overeating, lack of physical activity, genetics, culture, and metabolism.
Obesity is linked to many health complications and diseases, such as early death, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and stroke.
There are some groups with higher obesity rates, according to the CDC. Men and women with college degrees overall had lower obesity prevalence than those who did not have a higher education. Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks had the highest prevalence of obesity, at 47.0% and 46.8%, respectively. The prevalence of obesity was highest among middle-aged adults, ages 40-59 years old, at 42.8%.
According to a 2017 report by Consumer Protect, the state with the highest obesity rate is West Virginia, with a reported 38.1% of the state being obese. West Virginia also has the highest diabetes rate in the United States. Mississippi has the second-highest obesity rate at 37.3% and also has the shortest life expectancy among all of the states at 74.7 years.
Consumer Protect also released a Couch Potato Index, which ranks the 50 states by the percentage of adults who participate in zero physical activity according to the CDC. Mississippi is second on this list, with 33.2% of adults engaging in zero physical activity. West Virginia ranks number eight on this list at 31.6%.
The least obese state in the United States is Colorado, with 22.6% of its inhabitants considered obese. This is attributed to the outdoors and activities associated with being outside, as well as better eating habits. The District of Columbia and Hawaii boasts the second and third lowest rates, at 23.0% and 23.8% respectively. Hawaii also has the highest life expectancy in the United States at 81.3 years. On the Couch Potato Index, Colorado is at the 50th position with 19.5%, the District of Columbia is at 43 with 23.0%, and Hawaii is at 42 with 23.5%.