American Obesity Rates on the Rise

Nearly 3 of 10 Americans Are Obese

Americans have become even fatter than before, with nearly 28 percent saying they are clinically obese, a new survey finds.

According to an NBC News report, more than two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. But a Gallup-Healthways poll shows a record number are tilting the scales from merely overweight into the medically dangerous obese category.

“Mississippi had the highest incidence of obesity in the nation for the second year in a row, at 35.2 percent,” Gallup said in a statement. “Hawaii had the lowest incidence of obesity in 2014, making it the only state where fewer than one in five residents are obese.”

Last year, the group found that about 27 percent of Americans were obese. Someone who is 5-foot-5 and weighs 149 pounds has a body mass index of 24, considered a healthy weight. Add a pound and the same person has a BMI of 25 and is considered overweight. At 180 pounds this person has a BMI of 30 and is considered obese.

People who are obese have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. But Gallup and Healthways say there are more subtle drawbacks as well. Even when factoring in education, religion, age and income, obese adults are 29 percent more likely to say they lack purpose in life and nearly 34 percent more likely to suffer financially than non-obese adults, the groups found.

"In a handful of states, more than a third of the population is obese," Gallup said in a statement. "Obesity-related health problems could drive up healthcare costs and potentially have larger economic implications for states that suffer most."

The five slimmest states, with the percentage of population that is obese:

  • Hawaii: 19 percent
  • Colorado: 20.3 percent
  • Montana: 23.5 percent
  • California: 23.9 percent
  • Massachusetts: 24 percent

The most obese states:

  • Mississippi: 35.2 percent
  • West Virginia: 34.3 percent
  • Louisiana: 33.2 percent
  • Arkansas: 33 percent
  • Oklahoma: 32.6 percent

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