New figures released by the Gallup-Healthways poll in the United States reveals that Mississippi has overtaken West Virginia as the most obese state in the country, with Montana having the least number of obese people in 2013.
West Virginia had been ranked the most obese state from 2010 to 2012 but has been overtaken by Mississippi which had an obesity rate of 35.4 percent in 2013. The overall national obesity rate rose by nearly 1 percent to 27.1 percent, up from 26.2 percent in 2012. Montana was the only state to have an obesity rate under 20 percent, with the north western state coming last at 19.6 percent.
The researchers said that those with the highest obesity rates also struggled with high rates of chronic diseases.
"Research has shown that the average health care costs for an obese individual are over $1,300 more annually than [for] someone who is not obese. Although slowing, and even reversing, this trend may seem daunting, even modest weight loss of 5 percent to 10 percent of initial body weight can lower the health risks associated with obesity", the chief science officer at Healthways, Dr James Pope said.