According to a new report, one third of U.S. adults are obese along with one in six children.
The research was conducted by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and, as Statista’s Nial McCarthy explains, it found that the adult obesity rate exceeded 35 percent in five states, 30 percent in 25 states and 25 percent in 46 states.
In 2016, West Virginia had the highest rate of obesity at 37.7 percent, followed closely by Mississippi with 37.3 percent. Alabama and Arkansas jointly round off the top three with 35.7 percent each.
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Back in 2000, no U.S. state had an obesity rate higher than 25 percent.
As bad as the obesity epidemic is, the report also found that rates are starting to stabilize and actually decline in some places. Colorado, Minnesota, Washington and West Virginia all saw their obesity rates climb while Kansas saw a decrease.
The situation remained stable everywhere else.
Progress in halting the spread of expanding waistlines can be attributed to state policies improving access to healthy food and increasing physical activity.
The report notes that early childhood education has proven particularly effective at preventing obesity in early life, instead of having to reverse the problem in later years.