(WTRF) – Obesity is a common, chronic disease among many U.S. adults and children, but some states have higher rates than others.
US News & World Report factored CDC adult obesity rates into the outlet’s annual state rankings and found that West Virginia is the most obese, with a 40.4% rate.
“Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It’s a medical problem that increases the risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.”
The CDC defines obesity as “weight that is higher than what is considered healthy for a given height.” To classify as obese, and not overweight, one’s body mass index (BMI) – or one’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters – must be 30.0 or higher.
The adult obesity rate is one of six metrics U.S. News used to come up with the best and worst states for public health. The other metrics included are: mortality rate, suicide rate, smoking rate, mental health, and infant mortality rate.
See the five states with the highest adult obesity rates below, according to the study:
- West Virginia (40.7%)
- Alabama (40.4%)
- Kentucky (40.3%)
- Oklahoma (39.6%)
- Mississippi (39.2%)
According to the study, Ohio ranks ninth with 37.5%.
See the entire ranking of the 10 states with the highest adult obesity rate here.
In the overall “Best States for 2023” ranking, all five states did not fare especially well, ranking 46, 44, 39, 43 and 48, respectively. Along with public health, the “Best States” ranking weighs eight factors ranging from the natural environment to job opportunities and more.
The best state this year was Utah, which received especially high marks for economy, education, health care, infrastructure and fiscal stability.