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At Least 30% of Citizens Obese in 12 U.S. States, CDC Says

Third of Citizens Obese in 12 States, Agency Says
At least 30 percent of people in 12 states were obese in 2010, an increase of three states from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Photographer: Cindy Yamanaka/Orange County Register/Newscom

July 19 (Bloomberg) -- At least 30 percent of people in 12 states were obese in 2010, an increase of three states from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No state reported that less than 20 percent of adults were obese, the Atlanta-based agency said today in a statement. That means no state met the national Healthy People 2010 goal to lower the prevalence to 15 percent.

The South had the highest rate of obesity, with 29.4 percent, and the West had the lowest, of 24.1 percent, the CDC report said. Medicare and Medicaid, the government health plans, each spend more than 20 percent of their budgets to treat illnesses related to obesity and smoking, avoidable health risks, according to the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Obesity is also a death risk, said Thomas Frieden, the CDC director, in today’s report.

“Some of the leading causes of death are obesity-related - - heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer,” Frieden said in the statement today. “We must continue our efforts to reverse this epidemic.”

In 2000, no states had obesity rates higher than 25 percent or more of the adult population. In 2009, there were nine states with an obesity prevalence of 30 percent or more.

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index above 30. A 6-foot-tall adult man weighing 221 pounds (100 kilograms) or more is considered obese, as is an adult woman standing 5 feet, 6 inches tall weighing 186 pounds or more, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. People with obesity are at higher risk for diabetes and hypertension, according to the CDC.

The states with 30 percent or more prevalence of obesity are Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia, according to the CDC report.

Today’s data come from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a telephone survey of about 400,000 people older than age 18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Lopatto in New York at elopatto@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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