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Heaviest States in America 2011

August 29, 2011

Hurricane “Mean Irene” has been labeled “Wet, deadly and expensive, but no monster” having “claimed at least 18 lives and caused estimated economic damage of up to $7 billion…[while] millions of people are without power along the East Coast.” It’s a tragic situation that we are lucky is not even worse and my heart and thoughts go out to those suffering from the effects of the terrible weather.

Trust for America’s Health just recently published a report entitled “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011” and the findings are astounding. Americans are threatening their health every single day by what we are putting into and the negligent ways in which we are treating our bodies. Business Insider has this to say about the results:

Back in 1991 no states had obesity levels over 15%.

Today Colorado is the only state with obesity below 20%. Another 12 states have levels over 30%.

By measuring state obesity against population, we calculated a 0.5% increase in national obesity compared to last year’s report. That’s equivalent to 1.54 million new obese Americans in a single year.

Meanwhile adult diabetes increased in 11 states. Hypertension has also increased over the past 20 years. In 14 states the number of adults who said they do not exercise increased.

The states with the highest obesity level are mostly in the South.

Wow. There is a really upsetting map included in the study which state by state shows the adult and childhood obesity rates and let me just say that if this were a red/blue election map…the Republicans would be the indisputable winners. Ain’t that terrifying?

So, what are the Top 10 Fattest States in America? Get ready:

30.5% of Michigan is obese

30.5% of Michigan is obese

State rank: #10

Michigan is 1.2% more obese this year.

Arkansas: 30.6% of people are obese

Arkansas: 30.6% of people are obese

Image: Flickr User P.S.Zollo (

State rank: #9

31.6% of people in Arkansas have hypertension.

South Carolina: 30.9% of people are obese

South Carolina: 30.9% of people are obese

Image: Flickr User Tobyotter (

State rank: #8

South Carolina is 1% more obese this year.

Oklahoma: 31.4% of people are obese

State rank: #7

Oklahoma is 0.8% more obese this year.

Kentucky: 31.5% of people are obese

State rank: #6

Kentucky is 1% more obese this year.

Louisiana: 31.6% of people are obese

State rank: #5

10.7% of people in Louisiana have diabetes.

Tennessee: 31.9% of people are obese

Tennessee: 31.9% of people are obese

Image: Flickr User funkybrownchick (

State rank: #4

29.9% of adults in Tennessee say they are physically inactive.

West Virginia: 32.2% of people are obese

State rank: #3

West Virginia is 1% more obese this year.

Alabama: 32.3% of people are obese

State rank: #2

12.2% of people in Alabama have diabetes.

Mississippi: 34.4% of people are obese

Mississippi: 34.4% of people are obese

State rank: #1

34.8% of people in Mississippi have hypertension.

Ugh. So, Mississippi is #1…congrats? Here’s another unnerving aspect of the findings:

Racial and ethnic minority adults, and those with less education or who make less money, continue to have the highest overall obesity rates:

  • Adult obesity rates for Blacks topped 40 percent in 15 states, 35 percent in 35 states, and 30 percent in 42 states and D.C.
  • Rates of adult obesity among Latinos were above 35 percent in four states (Mississippi, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Texas) and at least 30 percent in 23 states.
  • Meanwhile, rates of adult obesity for Whites topped 30 percent in just four states (Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia) and no state had a rate higher than 32.1 percent.
  • Nearly 33 percent of adults who did not graduate high school are obese, compared with 21.5 percent of those who graduated from college or technical college.

More than 33 percent of adults who earn less than $15,000 per year were obese, compared with 24.6 percent of those who earn at least $50,000 per year.

terrible Terrible TERRIBLE! This is indisputably threatening the health and future of our country and is only getting worse and worse. What do you think can be done to impact and change this health crisis in our country?

(Images courtesy of and Business Insider)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 29, 2011 5:23 pm

    Very very sad! Those with lower income levels/lower socio-economic status need more education and more opportunities to eat healthy and to adopt healthy behaviors. Lets start by donating healthy food to the food shelves instead of mac ‘n’ cheese eh?

  2. jenmarie permalink
    August 30, 2011 3:02 pm

    It’s impossible to ignore that all of the states listed are in the south, with the exception of Michigan. When I left Texas for DC four years ago, I remember being astounded that there were virtually no obese people in my new city. The two most obvious reasons for this seem to be that in DC people move a LOT more–walking everywhere, biking, playing outside in neighborhood green spaces–and there is easy access to healthy food (farmers markets, organic grocery stores, health food restaurants). The greater population density in northern cities makes this possible…probably coupled with higher income and education rates. Once again, it comes down to access and education (just as the previous post pointed out). Affordable healthy food and free/cheap ways to exercise are seriously lacking in vast portions of our country, and something needs to be done about it. I’m just not sure exactly how we can start getting the necessary information and resources to the places it’s most needed.

  3. August 31, 2011 3:06 am

    I am a former special education teacher and I wrote a children’s picture book that tackles the issue of childhood obesity. Hunka Chunka Monkey Shapes Up entertains children without being preachy. It places a simple truth as a foundation in their hearts… cut back on their favorite snack, become active and make new friends.

    Chris Powell of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition reads my book to his children every night. He stated on his FaceBook, “The kids are requesting Hunka Chunka Monkey Shapes Up for their bedtime story tonight….AGAIN! This is the third in a row, but I love it. What a great message of healthy living for children:). Nicely done, Sam E Bromley!” Chris’s wife, Heidi Powell, used such words as ‘amazing’ and ‘brilliant’ when describing my story! I am excited about getting this message out. You can go to and type in my book’s name: Hunka Chunka Monkey Shapes Up and see a brief message about my story! Please pass this on for all to see and partner with me and let us stop the obesity problem in America by encouraging the very young to skip, run and jump their way to a better life and a better future!

    Sam E Bromley


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