This Is Where Colorado Ranks Among the Most Obese States in America

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Published Saturday, July 31, 2021
by Hristina Byrnes, 24/7 Wall St. via The Center Square

The obesity epidemic in the U.S. is a major health issue, and it's getting worse. The current national adult obesity rate is 29.7%, but almost half of adults are projected to be obese, not just overweight, by 2030, according to Harvard researchers estimates published in December 2019 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

While the country as a whole is facing an obesity crisis, the problem is much more pronounced in some states.

Colorado is the state with the lowest adult obesity rate in the U.S. About 22.4% of adult residents report a body mass index of 30 or greater. High obesity rates can detrimentally affect health.

About 13.8% of adults in Colorado report being in poor or fair health, the ninth lowest share in the U.S. Nationwide, 17.0% of adults report subpar health.

Obesity is a leading risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, and 6.6% of Colorado residents over the age of 20 have diabetes, the lowest share of all states. The diabetes prevalence across the country among the same age group is 10.5%

There are a multitude of social and economic factors that predispose certain populations to higher obesity rates. People with lower incomes are less able to afford proper medical care and healthy lifestyles, which include eating a healthy diet and having easy access to gyms and other options for physical activity.

The median household income in Colorado is $77,127 a year, the ninth highest in the U.S. and $11,415 more than the median across the country of $65,712 a year.

Insufficient sleep, defined as sleeping less than seven hours per night on average, has been shown to be a contributing factor to obesity. Sleep deprivation interferes with the two hormones that control appetite. Lack of sleep can lead to increased levels of ghrelin (increased appetite) and decreased levels of leptin (diminished feeling of fullness), possibly leading to weight gain.

About 30.0% of adults in Colorado report not getting enough sleep, the second lowest share in the U.S. and compared to 35.2% of U.S. adults.

Health experts have pointed to several lifestyle factors that are likely contributing to the excess weight problem among Americans, including a sedentary lifestyle. The physical inactivity rate in Colorado is 14.8%, the lowest in the U.S. Nationwide, 22.7% of adults don't exercise on a regular basis.

To identify the most obese states, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed health data from the 2021 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program. These are the most obese states in America

State

Adult obesity rate

Pop. Over 20 with diabetes

Adults in poor or fair health

Adults who don't exercise regularly

Median household income a year

Mississippi

39.1%

14.6%

22.1%

30.4%

45,792

West Virginia

37.8%

15.1%

23.6%

28.0%

48,850

Louisiana

36.3%

13.0%

21.4%

28.0%

51,073

Alabama

36.1%

14.5%

21.4%

29.3%

51,734

Arkansas

35.0%

13.5%

23.3%

30.4%

48,952

Kentucky

34.6%

12.7%

21.8%

28.7%

52,295

Oklahoma

34.5%

12.3%

20.9%

27.8%

54,449

Iowa

34.3%

9.9%

13.5%

22.6%

61,691

South Carolina

34.0%

13.3%

17.8%

26.0%

56,227

Indiana

33.9%

12.1%

18.2%

26.7%

57,603

North Dakota

33.9%

9.4%

13.6%

23.1%

64,577

Ohio

33.5%

12.2%

17.8%

26.1%

58,642

Nebraska

33.4%

10.0%

13.8%

22.7%

63,229

Tennessee

33.3%

12.5%

21.2%

27.2%

56,071

Kansas

33.0%

10.5%

16.3%

23.9%

62,087

Missouri

32.5%

11.4%

19.5%

25.5%

57,409

Michigan

32.4%

11.0%

18.3%

23.1%

59,584

Delaware

32.4%

11.8%

16.3%

27.3%

70,176

South Dakota

32.4%

10.1%

13.4%

22.0%

59,533

North Carolina

32.3%

11.5%

18.0%

23.3%

57,341

Georgia

32.3%

12.0%

18.4%

26.4%

61,980

Alaska

31.9%

8.3%

15.6%

19.3%

75,463

Wisconsin

31.7%

9.5%

14.8%

20.3%

64,168

Maryland

31.6%

11.1%

15.2%

21.9%

86,738

Texas

31.4%

10.2%

18.7%

23.2%

64,034

Pennsylvania

30.8%

11.0%

17.6%

22.0%

63,463

Virginia

30.5%

10.7%

16.6%

22.2%

76,456

Maine

29.8%

10.4%

17.1%

20.8%

58,924

Illinois

29.7%

9.9%

15.9%

21.6%

69,187

Oregon

29.3%

9.7%

18.2%

17.3%

67,058

Wyoming

29.2%

9.0%

15.3%

23.1%

65,003

Idaho

29.0%

9.3%

15.1%

20.4%

60,999

Minnesota

29.0%

8.5%

12.9%

19.6%

74,593

Washington

28.6%

9.3%

15.0%

16.4%

78,687

New Hampshire

28.6%

9.6%

12.8%

20.8%

77,933

Rhode Island

28.5%

10.1%

16.5%

23.5%

71,169

Arizona

27.9%

9.6%

18.6%

21.2%

62,055

New Mexico

27.3%

9.5%

20.3%

19.0%

51,945

Florida

27.2%

10.8%

19.5%

25.8%

59,227

Montana

27.1%

8.9%

14.1%

21.7%

57,153

Nevada

27.1%

10.5%

19.1%

22.5%

63,276

Vermont

27.0%

8.8%

12.8%

18.4%

63,001

Utah

27.0%

7.5%

14.8%

16.7%

75,780

New Jersey

27.0%

9.9%

15.5%

26.6%

85,751

New York

26.4%

10.1%

16.3%

23.4%

72,108

Connecticut

26.3%

9.2%

13.0%

19.9%

78,833

Massachusetts

25.0%

8.7%

13.5%

20.0%

85,843

Hawaii

24.6%

11.1%

15.4%

19.6%

83,102

California

24.3%

8.8%

17.6%

17.7%

80,440

Colorado

22.4%

6.6%

13.8%

14.8%

77,127

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