New data proves that a staggering number of people are at an unhealthy weight.
Bad news for our waistlines: A staggering number of Americans are now considered obese, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
After gathering height and weight data from participants in a series of telephone interviews conducted from 2014 to 2016, the researchers determined that more than 20 percent of adults in every state are now considered obese, meaning they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above. (But keep in mind, BMI can be deceiving because there’s no way to differentiate muscle—which weighs more—from fat.)
The CDC found that southern states—particularly Alabama, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia—have the highest obesity rates at 35 percent or higher. And West Virginia has the highest number of any, at 38 percent.
Colorado had the lowest obesity rate, 22 percent, and Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Washington D.C. have rates under 25 percent as well.
And residents in 20 states, including Texas, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have average obesity rates about 30 to 35 percent.
There are a few reasons for these high obesity rates across the country.
In 2015, the CDC reported that nearly half of Americansdon’t meet the recommended physical activity guidelines, which is 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of high-intensity aerobic activity. Additionally, you should include muscle-building workouts into your routine two or more days a week.
And earlier this year, Men’s Health reported that the American diet is less than stellar. Stephan Guyenet, Ph.D., an obesity researcher and author of The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts that Make Us Overeat, told us that grain-based desserts like cookies and cakes, soda, and pizza all factor into America's top five sources of calories in our diets. These options tend to be dense in calories and light in nutritional benefits, which can contribute to weight gain.
There are a ton of risks that come along with obesity, including high blood pressure (the leading cause of strokes), high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease (the leading cause of death for American adults).
So your best bet is working towards getting yourself to a healthy weight. Even dropping just 5 percent of your current body weight will decrease your chance of winding up with these health issues.