What’s the Fattest State in America?

  • Share
  • Read Later

This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its annual report detailing obesity rates throughout the 50 states. For the sixth year in a row, Mississippi cinched the top spot: according to results from the study, nearly 34.9% of its population is obese.

On the other end of the spectrum, Colorado is America’s skinniest state — just 20.7% of the population ranks as overweight there. According to the center, about 35.7% of all American adults are obese.

(MOREU.S. Obesity Rates Remain Stubbornly High)

Overall, certain regions of the country fared better than others. For example, the West came in with the lowest rates of obesity, followed by the Northeast, the Midwest and then the South. The Los Angeles Times reported that:

The South had the highest prevalence of obesity – with several states among the 12 that are in the over-30% category: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

(MORESeverely Obese Kids Have Heart Disease Risk Factors as Early as Age 2)

The top 10 chubbiest states in the U.S. are:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Louisiana
  3. West Virginia
  4. Alabama
  5. Michigan
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Arkansas
  8. Indiana
  9. Kentucky
  10. Missouri

Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

69 comments
Tovo1977
Tovo1977

The discrepancy in statistics is the state numbers include the whole population and the US as a whole only includes adults.  My apologies Erica Ho. JeffKY please tell me more about this nationwide anti-South agenda, especially the Georgia-based CDC involvement.

JeffKY
JeffKY

As of July 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau had CA sitting at 34,691,912 people. As of July 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau had Miss. sitting at 2,978,512 people. So for Miss., 34.9% of 2,978,512 is 1,039,500 obese people. Just for the sake of argument, let's say only 10% of the CA population is obese. That is 3,469,191 obese Californians compared to the 1,039,500 in Mississippi. And for the national average, the U.S. Census Bureau had the entire nation sitting at 311,591,917 people as of July 2011. Let's say 5% of that population are obese. That means 15,579,596 people are obese in the U.S compared to the 1,039,500 in Mississippi. And there are a lot more obese people in America than 5% of the population. See what using math does for you? It allows you to see through the B.S.

bigguy19999
bigguy19999

i got tha fatttest dickkkkkkkkkkkkkk in the world

bigguy19999
bigguy19999

i got tha fattttest dickkkk in amurica

Stephen Johnson
Stephen Johnson

So the worst state has an obesity percentage of 34.9 (which means all the other states are lower), but the national average is 35.7%.  How is that possible?

Karaway
Karaway

Hmmm, lets see,  the first paragraph states that the most obese state has a rate of 34.9 %,  and then later the claim is that about 35.7% of all americans are obese.  So if this is true then the first statement cannot be. 

I wonder where the reporter learned how to do math??  Or at least know enough to realize something isn't correct.

Wes Hylemon
Wes Hylemon

How the hell can Miss. be below the national average and be #1? makes no sense!

MarkLeeChrisman
MarkLeeChrisman

Sure it does. Mississippi is #1 state in comparison to any one of the other 49 states. They don't beat the nation as a whole. However this data doesn't necessarily indicate that Mississippi has the most obese people. California may have more obese people because they have more people period. If California had an obesity percentage of 33 and Mississippi had 34.9, California would have have more obese people because 33% of 37.7 million is more then 34.9% of 3 million. No where in the article did it say that Mississippi has a higher percentage then the nation at whole, only in comparison to other states.

Sharon BriscoeJames
Sharon BriscoeJames

 I just read a few of the comments on this page, why doesn't somebody come up with a plan to let these people know that they are destroying themselves. Yes, I am overweight, I have been overweight since I was a teenager. I like what I eat, that's why I eat it. I do not eat tofu, or any thing else that will help me lose the weight. I do love to walk, it just seems that it has been really warm, in Maryland (being August), once the weather breaks, I will be outside walking again. I've heard that walking is the best exercise.

HarryDoyle
HarryDoyle

Walking is good, but to say it is the best is a bit much. Relative to your lower body joints it is indeed better than jogging, but I wouldn't call it the best exercise. Anything that moves your body, gets your heart rate up and doesn't cause bodily harm is a good thing. Cross country skiing as it turns out is the "best" for this because it uses so much of your body. And don't be shy about doing resistance training as it is important to maintain muscle mass throughout your lifespan.

As for diet and without getting too into it, find vegetables and fruits that you like and also seek out lean proteins and whole grains (in that order more or less). And drink more water than everything else combined. Best wishes!

~CSCS

Diane Ribbentrop
Diane Ribbentrop

Poorer and least  educated seem to be least healthy and least well  informed   We can not count on  churches  to inform us on politics  

DCV1
DCV1

As an individual born and educated in the great State of Mississippi, I am extremely offended at some of these remarks.  Nowhere else in this great country will you find genuine hospitality, warmth, caring, and just "good folks" other than in the deep South.  Many well-known (and educated) individuals have their roots in the deep South.  How dare you judge a person based on their size or from where they live.  And yet, these are the same people that will welcome you into their states when you drive through on vacation, stop to admire our beautiful coastlines, or take in our gorgeous state parks.  I, unfortunately, have lived outside of the South and hope never to again.  I'll take the obesity and hospitality anyday over the rude, selfish individuals north of the "Mason-Dixon Line."

chillicr
chillicr

Remember:

California’s population is 38,000,000. The obesity rate is

24% = 9.10 million obese.

Mississippi’s population is 3,000,000. The obesity rate is

34%= 1.02 million obese.

 

CALIFORNIA HAS 9 TIMES THE NUMBER OF OBESE AS

MISSISSIPPI.

 

Colorado, with the lowest % of obese people, still has more

than Mississippi.

So you see. You HATERS have plenty of fat ones yourselves!

shelllby
shelllby

Alaska is the fattest state by far. It is nearly three times as wide as Texas.

Roy Black
Roy Black

Mississippi probably deserves 99.9% of the derp it receives and we do have a metric buttload of fat waddling around (or riding electric shopping carts) but those numbers just don't look quite right. 

Mississippi ....study, nearly 34.9% obese.

According to the center, about 35.7% of all American adults are obese.

0.8% below the national average yet #1 suggests she is using/comparing different statistics to get something that, to her, sounds good.

The writer obviously didn't want to make the effort to actually explain the results or pass up a chance to look down her superior nose while dissing a place and a lot of people she will never know anything about. In other words, a typical LIBERAL. (That is a different breed than "liberals" or "Liberals" and should not be confused.) 

obbop
obbop

Missouri is only 10th on the list but as I observe regularly our local ample number of folks eagerly devouring copious calories we will assuredly rise ever higher with number 1 being a realistic goal.

Here atop the cultural backwater of the Ozark Plateau where a HUGE percentage of the human herd revel in their ignorance, proud of it and constantly strive to garner even more ignorance, there are not many entertainments available for literate folks of even sub-par mental abilities and higher.

One of the few entertainments is visiting one of the  many all-you-can-eat food devouring palaces and watch the waddling HUGE hulks entering to consume in one sitting enough vittles to adequately feed an entire sub-Saharan tribe for a week or more.

Conversely, the enormous lard-laden locals stare at the non-fatsos as we eat 1/20th of their food amount and load our plates with veggies and shun the desert bar... the desert section the lardos visit multiple times.

Wish us luck as the HUGE number of HUGE people eating HUGE amounts strive to become number 1.

Revenant
Revenant

MD didn't make this unenviable list. WOO-HOO!

companyemails
companyemails

Anyone else find it curious that the map described above is almost exactly (with the exception of Michigan) the same as the map of  traditional "blue states" versus "red states".

Glenn Diamant
Glenn Diamant

Obesity is an expanding problem. NationWIDE.

Bob Isaacks
Bob Isaacks

Since whn is Michigan located in the South??

cpadman
cpadman

The "fat states" are mostly red states where itt romney will easily win.  Lack of duation and excessive religisity are contributing factors.

CraigBovia
CraigBovia

By the looks, there seems to be a unspoken requirement that TeaPeers have to be old, white and way overweight.   Being overweight and voting for romney/ryan are equally self-destructive.  Could it be a virus?  The Ignorance Virus??  

CraigBovia
CraigBovia

Way to go Mississippi.  The fattest people in the Nation.  The worst performing schools in the Nations.   Does anyone see a correlation?  Arizona has the second worse school in the US, wonder why they are missing from the list?

Stan Sinberg
Stan Sinberg

How can the "fattest" state have an obesity rate - 34.9% - that's lower than the national average of 35.7%?  Doesn't make sense, people!! (and proof-reader)

Tovo1977
Tovo1977

Can somebody (preferably Erica Ho but anybody feel free) explain how Mississippi tops the obesity list at 34.9% yet 35.7% of ALL AMERICANS are obese according to this article? 

JeffKY
JeffKY

it is called horrible journalism, coupled with deplorable editors, mixed in nicely with a nation-wide anti-South agenda in the media. 

Tovo1977
Tovo1977

Can somebody (preferably Erica Ho) explain how Mississippi tops the obesity list at 34.9% yet 35.7% of ALL AMERICANS are obese? 

Tovo1977
Tovo1977

Can somebody (preferably Erica Ho) explain how Mississippi tops the obesity list at 34.9% yet 35.7% of ALL AMERICANS are obese?

MarkLeeChrisman
MarkLeeChrisman

 Easy. Of the samples they took in Mississippi 34.9% of the "surveyed" population were obese. Compared to other STATES, that was the highest percentage, not necessarily the highest number as the state of Mississippi doesn't have the highest population in comparison to a state like Texas or Alaska . If you take the number of all 50 states and add up the population, 35.7% of us are obese. Percentages are relative to population numbers. Just because Mississippi has the most obese people per capita doesn't mean they have the most obese people. Texas might have more simply because there are MORE people in Texas(and obviously the U.S. collectively) than there are in Mississippi. I'm failing to see why this is so hard to people to comprehend it makes perfect sense.... Now I'm not saying this article is gospel; far from it there is always room for error in these sample surveys but for a ballpark estimate it seems fairly accurate.

JeffKY
JeffKY

incorrect data used to skew the report. unabashed South-hating

iknowrebekah
iknowrebekah

I don't understand how 35.7% of Americans can be obese amp; the most obese state has a rate of 34.9% The math doesn't add up for me. Is it a typo? I'm just really curious.

Web Design Vizag
Web Design Vizag

Good question. It's due to the slight change of wording:

- Mississippi - "nearly 34.9% of its population is obese"

- US overall - "about 35.7% of all American adults are obese"

Spot that? Adults only versus entire population. Tricky! CDC says "about 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese"

Stacey Lee
Stacey Lee

No, these numbers make sense.  ~36% of the the entire country is obese and ~35% of Mississippi.  

Percentage of the former is based on the OVERALL population of the US.

And percentage of the latter is based ONLY on the population of Mississippi.

happydayfortennis
happydayfortennis

That still doesn't make sense, because if Miss. has 35% obese people, and every other state has a smaller percentage of obese people, then it is impossible for the percentages to average out to be higher than 36%.

happydayfortennis
happydayfortennis

@twitter-15069051:disqus Yes, but that's assuming there are other states with higher percentages of mountainous regions than Mississippi. But in this case, Mississippi has the highest percentage of obese states with 34.9%, so there can't be any other states with higher percentages. Yet the national average is 35.7%.

Roy Black
Roy Black

It's not that hard to use statistics to say what ever you want them to say. Just compare apples to washing machines and there you go.

Christophla
Christophla

You failed stats, eh?

If Mississippi is comprised of 20% mountainous regions and the national average is 61%... well, maybe there are more states (and higher averages) than Mississippi. Just thinkin' out loud here.. I could be wrong... now pass me another genny cream ale.

reasonableguy
reasonableguy

Perhaps possible because of the great difference in populations among states. So California which has 12 times as many people as Mississippi can have a lower obesity rate, but can contain more obese people than Mississippi's total population. 

happydayfortennis
happydayfortennis

But that still doesn't make sense mathematically, come on you guys! Let's say CA has 1000 people - 30% of whom are obese - and Miss. has 100 people - 34.9% of whom are obese. That would make the average of the two 30.45%. It is mathematically impossible for the national average rate to be higher than than that of the most obese state.

JeffKY
JeffKY

Let's say both CA and Miss. has more people than you listed in your hypothetical scenario. As of July 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau had CA sitting at 34,691,912 people. As of July 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau had Miss. sitting at 2,978,512 people. So for Miss., 34.9% of 2,978,512 is 1,039,500 obese people. Just for the sake of argument, let's say only 10% of the CA population is obese. That is 3,469,191 obese Californians compared to the 1,039,500 in Mississippi. And for the national average, the U.S. Census Bureau had the entire nation sitting at 311,591,917 people as of July 2011. Let's say 5% of that population are obese. That means 15,579,596 people are obese in the U.S compared to the 1,039,500 in Mississippi. And there are a lot more obese people in America than 5% of the population. 

See what using math does for you? It allows you to see through the B.S.

Jaian Jimenez
Jaian Jimenez

The 34.9% is only of the people in that particular state, but the 35.7% is nationwide altogether.

iknowrebekah
iknowrebekah

 That mathematically doesn't make any sense. How can it be LARGER [pun intended] for all involved amp; smaller when you look at the number sitting on top?

Christophla
Christophla

 They don't call you Sonny because you're bright.

Noypistuff
Noypistuff

It does not make sense. I have to agree.

Tovo1977
Tovo1977

 But the state with 34.9 (Mississippi) is the MOST obese in the nation, meaning none of the other states have a higher obesity rate. America as a whole can not have a higher rate than the state the has the highest rate.

JeffKY
JeffKY

The stats were intentionally skewed in order to continue the negative stereotypes of the South. But it is okay, we know who the uninformed are. It is funny they like to make fun of us and call us fat and uninformed, but have no problem raping our mountains and poisoning our drinking water for their coal-powered electricity in their wonderful urban centers.

happydayfortennis
happydayfortennis

I think maybe just maybe we need to do something about our education system (and obesity problem), and I do mean that sincerely. But if the numbers are wrong, it must be the CDC's error, since the report has the same numbers. The CDC graph is entitled "Prevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults." So maybe not everyone was aware that he or she was obese, bringing the self-reported numbers down? Also the national average was calculated for 2009-2010, while the state averages were calculated in 2011, the year CDC apparently made "methodologic changes" in how they surveyed people, so that could explain the difference.