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America Getting Obese, Mississippi Leading The Way
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Americans Getting Obese, Mississippi Leading The Way

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Highlights
  • The number of obese people has surpassed that of the overweight, for the first time in history in the US.
  • More than three-quarters of American adults today are either overweight or obese.
  • The growing weight problem has inspired a surge of new programs and products designed to promote better health and prevent obesity.
  • To study the obesity rates, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and concluded that Colorado has the lowest percentage of obese adults at 21.3%.

"Fat" may be the new normal in America.

We want to make people aware of the obesity problem in the country. Obesity is a direct result of inactivity and poor food choices.- Ryan Miller

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According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a report from JAMA Internal Medicine found that more than three-quarters of American adults today are either overweight or obese.

The number of obese people has surpassed that of the overweight, for the first time in history. In 2015, about 81.6 million Americans were completely inactive.
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Americans collectively spending up to $315.8 billion annually on obesity-related medical treatment. In the past two decades, especially, America's weight problem has grown dramatically, inspiring a surge of new programs and products designed to promote better health and help Americans shed the extra pounds.

New statistics published by the Physical Activity Council suggests a need for more aggressive efforts to combat the issue.

Obesity

Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as being overweight or obese.

Obesity often results from energy imbalance between the calories consumed and calories expended. Obesity and overweight occur over time when the calories intake exceeds calorie use.

Body Mass Index or BMI is the screening tool for obesity. BMI is a simple index of weight for height that classifies overweight and obesity in adults.

A high BMI is an indicator of higher body fat.

BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 - 24.9 Normal or healthy weight
25.0 - 29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese
Factors that Cause Obesity

The two main factors that cause overweight and obesity are
  1. Energy-dense foods that are high in fat content
  2. Lack of physical activity due to increasing sedentary lifestyle.
Other factors include genetics, emotional instability, sleeplessness, smoking, environmental factors and certain medicines

Consequences of Obesity

Obese individuals are at a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke), which are the leading cause of death, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis - a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints) and some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon).

Study

With November being National Diabetes Awareness Month, the personal-finance website WalletHub took an in-depth look at 2016's Fattest States in America The WalletHub's analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 17 key indicators of weight-related problems.

Dimensions Used to Conduct Analysis

The 3 key dimensions include
  1. Obesity & Overweight Prevalence,
  2. Unhealthy Habits & Consequences and
  3. Food & Fitness.
The dimensions were evaluated using 17 relevant metrics. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the most unhealthy conditions.

Finally, the overall scores for each state were calculated based on the weighted average across all metrics and the results were used to construct our ranking.

The data set ranges from "percentage of adults and children who are overweight and obese" to "sugary-beverage consumption among adolescents."

Table Representing Top 20 Fattest States in US

In the table below, a rank of No. 1 corresponds to the state with the biggest weight problems.

Overall Rank State Total Score 'Obesity & Overweight Prevalence' Rank 'Unhealthy Habits & Consequences' Rank 'Food & Fitness' Rank
1 Mississippi 63.59 1 4 12
2 Louisiana 62.74 3 1 25
3 Arkansas 62.34 2 5 1
4 Kentucky 61.13 5 7 9
5 Tennessee 60.87 7 6 15
6 West Virginia 60.51 8 3 3
7 South Carolina 60.36 4 15 23
8 Alabama 59.79 6 20 17
9 Texas 58.25 9 22 10
10 Oklahoma 57.22 11 21 2
11 Delaware 56.51 10 14 43
12 Indiana 55.26 13 10 24
13 Arizona 54.68 18 19 4
14 North Dakota 54.61 12 45 8
15 New Mexico 54.53 24 2 5
16 Georgia 54.38 15 18 27
17 Michigan 54.14 16 25 11
18 Ohio 54.00 14 31 38
19 Kansas 53.60 19 33 14
20 Missouri 53.53 17 34 20
 Key Findings From the Study
  1. Colorado has the lowest percentage of obese adults, 21.3%, which is 1.7 times lower than in Arkansas, the state with the highest at 35.9%.
  2. Colorado has the lowest percentage of physically inactive adults, 16.4%, which is 1.9 times lower than in Mississippi, the state with the highest at 31.6%.
  3. Colorado has the lowest percentage of diabetic adults, 6.8%, which is 2.2 times lower than in Mississippi, the state with the highest at 14.7%.
  4. Minnesota has the lowest percentage of adults with high blood pressure, 25.2%, which is 1.5 times lower than in Louisiana and Mississippi, the states with the highest, both at 38%.
Ways to Tackle Obesity
  1. Eating healthy, well-balanced diet ensuring calorie intake does not surpass calorie expenditure.
  2. Regularly engaging in physical activity, at least 30 minutes a day
  3. To give up smoking and drinking habits
  4. Keep the mind fit by engaging in yoga and meditation.
  5. Keep track of BMI, waist circumference
  6. Avoid sedentary lifestyle and engage in physical activities
References
  1. What Causes Overweight and Obesity? - (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/causes)
  2. Defining Adult Overweight and Obesity - (https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.html)
Source: Medindia

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