The adult obesity rate is at or above 35% in seven states and at least 30% in 29 states, according to the most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data issued by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The rates increased in Iowa, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and South Carolina between 2016 and 2017, and remained stable in the rest of states.
West Virginia has the highest adult obesity rate at 38.1% and Colorado has the lowest at 22.6%.
American Heart Association (AHA) CEO Nancy Brown said the obesity epidemic continues to put millions of Americans at higher risk for a range of chronic diseases and costs the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars each year.
Brown said the best way to prevent adult obesity is to focus on healthy habits for children. Through its Voices for Healthy Kids initiative—a joint collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation— the AHA supports more than 100 successful advocacy campaigns that increase access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity for kids and families across the country. "These campaigns show what can happen when we prioritize a healthy future for every child,” said Brown.
She also urged states and communities to enact taxes on sugary drinks, pointing out that kids’ consumption of sugary drinks significantly increases their risk for conditions including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.