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[Data] The 2013 State(s) Of Obesity In The US

2011 State-by-State Obesity Rates for the United States

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If you were ever curious about the obesity distribution within the US here’s your answer. According to 2011 data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state-by-state obesity rates nationwide land at the distribution mapped out above. Dark red states are the fattest, as measured by % of obese adult state population; dark blue states are the leanest, with the smallest obese population (rollover for individual numbers).

The following 5 states lead the way:1

1. Mississippi – 34.9%
2. Louisiana – 33.4%
3. West Virginia – 32.4%
4. Alabama – 32%
5. Michigan – 31.3%


And these 5 states (+ DC) are doing their very best to drop the US from the only #1 spot it holds anymore (hint, obesity):

46. California – 23.8%
48. District of Columbia (DC) – 23.7%
48. New Jersey – 23.7%
49. Massachusetts – 22.7%
50. Hawaii – 21.8%
51.  Colorado – 20.7%


Over the past 25 years obesity has transformed into an epidemic beast, with it collectively shifting from a cool, icy blue, to a blazing hot red (it even got Colorado in 2010). The CDC’s time sequence below maps out obesity rates from 1985-2010 – sit back, relax, and watch the fatness flow.

Obesity Trends In The US

Obesity Trends In The US, 1985 – 2010



What’s Going on with Obesity Lately?

The Good News – Collectively, we’re not getting fatter.

Despite accelerated growth throughout the ’90’s and 2000’s, obesity has leveled off in 2011 and 2012, with adult obesity holding steady at 26.2% – up marginally from 26.1% in 2011. The overweight population remained at 36.1%, and the % morbidly obese (BMI of 40+) jumped slightly to 3.6% of the adult population (from 3.4% in 2011). 2

The extremely fat are getting even fatter, while everyone else stays roughly the same.

Weight Class Trends in the US

Weight Class Trends in the US

Degrees of Obesity in the US

Degrees of Obesity in the US

The Bad News – Trends say we should be getting skinnier, but we’re not.

While stabile obesity rates may seem promising, all signs say that we should be getting skinnier. We’re not. It’s slightly concerning that obesity hasn’t dropped given that:

1. More people reported exercising 3+ times per week in 2012, up to 54.7% in 2012 from 51.9% in 2009.3

2. More people view obesity as the “most urgent health problem” in the US, up to 14% in 2012 from 8% in 2010.4

We’re exercising more and we’re more concerned about obesity, yet there’s nothing to show for it. Frustrating, eh? It might even look like a macrocosm for your own personal fitness struggles. To me it signals the overwhelming importance of one thing – DIET. From caloric intake, to alcohol consumption, to food quality, to supplementation, down to macro/micro nutrient ratios, it all fits together to form one overly complex jigsaw puzzle.

What you put into your body determines how it changes, grows, and morphs from the inside-out; exercise serves as corrective/preventative medicine from the outside-in. As a society we’ve yet to collectively figure the diet side out – until we do, obesity and America will be unshakably attached at the hip.

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Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
  1. CDC Obesity Stats []
  2. Gallup Research – In U.S., Obesity Rate Stable in 2012 []
  3. Gallup Research – Americans Exercising Slightly More in 2012 []
  4. Gallup Research – In U.S., More Cite Obesity as Most Urgent Health Problem []
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