West Virginia (33.5%) has the highest rate of adult obesity of any US state, while Colorado (20%) has the lowest, according to new Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data. The prevalence of obesity is nearly 35% higher, on average, in the 11 states with the highest obesity levels compared with the 10 states with the lowest obesity levels: 30.5% vs. 22.6%, respectively.
National Obesity Rate Up 4% Since ’08
Nationally, 26.6% of American adults were obese in 2010, on par with 26.5% in 2009, but still up from 25.5% in 2008. These data, collected as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, are based on respondents’ self-reports of their height and weight, which are used to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) scores. Americans who have a BMI of 30 or higher are classified as “obese.”
Obesity Levels Up Two Points or More in Six States in 2010
Obesity rates increased the most from 2009 levels in New Hampshire, Kentucky, Nevada, and South Dakota in 2010. Only in Wyoming did the percentage of those who are obese decline by more than two points in 2010.
High Obesity Tied to Higher Rates of Diabetes Nationwide
The diabetes rate in the US, which is related to obesity, also remains up from 2008, with 11.3% of American adults reporting in 2010 that they have ever been diagnosed with the disease, similar to 11% in 2009, but up more than 6% from 10.6% 2008.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data highlight the relationship between obesity levels and diabetes diagnoses, revealing that there is an average diabetes rate of 9.9% in the 10 states with the lowest obesity levels, which is almost 28% lower than the average rate of 13.7% in the 11 states with the highest obesity levels.
Accordingly, diabetes rates are highest in the same states where obesity levels are the highest: West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Americans are least likely to report ever having been diagnosed with diabetes in Alaska, Colorado, Montana, and North Dakota.
These data reveal that if the 11 states with the highest obesity levels had the same average obesity rate as the 10 states with the lowest obesity levels, approximately 3.3 million fewer American adults would be obese and there could be as many as 1.6 million fewer diagnosed with diabetes in those 10 states alone. If the remaining 40 states had the same average diabetes rate as the 10 states with the lowest obesity levels, approximately 4.6 million fewer American adults would have diabetes.
Montgomery Most Obese City, Ft. Collins Least
Twenty-one US metro areas, led by Montgomery, AL and Stockton, CA, reported obesity rates of 31% or higher in 2009, based on their residents’ self-reported height and weight, according to other recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data. Among the 11 cities of the 187 studied with obesity rates lower than 20%, four are in Colorado. These include the least obese, Fort Collins-Loveland (16%), and second-least-obese, Boulder (16.6%).
About the Data: Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey Jan. 2-Dec. 29, 2010, with a random sample of 352,840 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.