How does Texas rank on latest list of most obese states?

Obesity rates are climbing in Texas. Illustration by Rick Steinhauser
Obesity rates are climbing in Texas. Illustration by Rick Steinhauser

Nearly a third of adult Texans are obese, and the Lone Star State ranks 11th on a list released this week of the most obese states in the country.

Not good, people.

Arkansas wins the dubious honors of the most overweight state, with 35.9 percent of adults considered obese. Colorado has the lowest rate of obesity – 21.3 percent – and even that’s astonishing.

Consider that obesity rates are at or above 30 percent in 22 states and not a single state has an obesity rate below 21 percent.

In 1980, no state had a rate above 15 percent. In 1991, no state had a rate over 20 percent.

Now, more than 30 percent of adults, nearly 17 percent of 2 to 19-year-olds and more than 8 percent of children ages 2 to 5 are obese, according to State of Obesity (previously titled “F as in Fat”), a project of the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Here in Texas, our waistlines have been gradually increasing in recent years. We ranked 19th fattest with a rate of 29.2 percent in 2013. In 2014 we edged up to 15th fattest with a 30.9 percent rate of obesity.

Today we’re at 31.9 percent. Read more about our statistics here.

Also of note? Twenty-three of the 25 states with the highest rates of obesity are in the south and midwest. Rates are at or above 30 percent in 42 states for blacks, 30 states for Latinos and 13 states for whites.

Obesity can lead to health problems including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The study found that diabetes rates increased in eight states – Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Here’s the complete list:

1. Arkansas (35.9)

2. West Virginia (35.7)

3. Mississippi (35.5)

4. Louisiana (34.9)

5. Alabama (33.5)

6. Oklahoma (33.0)

7. Indiana (32.7)

8. Ohio (32.6)

9. North Dakota (32.2)

10. South Carolina (32.1)

11. Texas (31.9)

12. Kentucky (31.6)

13. Kansas (31.3)

14. (tie) Tennessee (31.2) and Wisconsin (31.2)

16. Iowa (30.9)

17. (tie) Delaware (30.7) and Michigan (30.7)

19. Georgia (30.5)

20. (tie) Missouri (30.2) and Nebraska (30.2) and Pennsylvania (30.2)

23. South Dakota (29.8)

24. (tie) Alaska (29.7) and North Carolina (29.7)

26. Maryland (29.6)

27. Wyoming (29.5)

28. Illinois (29.3)

29. (tie) Arizona (28.9) and Idaho (28.9)

31. Virginia (28.5)

32. New Mexico (28.4)

33. Maine (28.2)

34. Oregon (27.9)

35. Nevada (27.7)

36. Minnesota (27.6)

37. New Hampshire (27.4)

38. Washington (27.3)

39. (tie) New York (27.0) and Rhode Island (27.0)

41. New Jersey (26.9)

42. Montana (26.4)

43. Connecticut (26.3)

44. Florida (26.2)

45. Utah (25.7)

46. Vermont (24.8)

47. California (24.7)

48. Massachusetts (23.3)

49. Hawaii (22.1)

50. District of Columbia (21.7)

51. Colorado (21.3).

Author: Pam LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc writes about fitness and travel for the Austin American-Statesman. She has worked for the Statesman since 1998 and written her weekly fitness column, Fit City, since 2004.

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