Louisiana is tied for the fattest state in the nation, with an adult obesity rate of almost 35 percent. Mississippi falls behind by a fraction of a percentage, and Arkansas is very close behind. (Arkansas was the only state this year where obesity had a statistical increase.)
The analysis is from a report called F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2013, from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Laura Segal, public affairs director at the Trust, said the research stems from an annual telephone survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in every state. People tell the CDC their dimensions as part of the survey.
“It’s self-reported. So, as you might imagine, people assume it’s a little underreported. People might underreport weight and over report height. So, it might be under representing the problem, if anything," Segal said.
Louisiana is carrying a lot of extra weight. The new report found that close to 70 percent of residents are either overweight or obese. Segal said factors that contribute to the problem are a lack of education and low income levels.
“In a lot of places, people don’t have as much access to healthy fruits and veggies, or safe places to exercise, or even time during the day to exercise. So those are all important strategies to help people,” Segal said.
Colorado had the lowest level of obesity nationwide at 21 percent. Overall, nearly 28 percent of Americans were obese in this year’s survey. That's roughly the same as it's been since 2008.
Drilling down into the numbers 20 years ago, according to Segal, Louisiana’s obesity rate was 12.3 percent.