Study: 12 States Have Obesity Rate Higher Than 30 Percent

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File photo of an obese person. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

File photo of an obese person. (credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A new study indicates 12 states have an obesity rate higher than 30 percent.

Mississippi had the highest rate of obesity at 34.9 percent, while Colorado had the lowest rate at 20.7 percent. Twenty-six of the 30 states with the highest obesity rates are in the Midwest and the South. Illinois is ranked 29th with a 27.1 percent obesity rate.

The study comes from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Trust for America’s Health Executive Director Jeffrey Levi says there’s a growing body of knowledge that makes healthier choices easier for Americans. However, he says very little is being invested in reducing obesity.

“Obesity has contributed to a stunning rise in chronic disease rates and health care costs. It is one of the biggest health crises the country has ever faced,” Levi said in a press release. “The good news is that we have a growing body of evidence and approaches that we know can help reduce obesity, improve nutrition and increase physical activity based on making healthier choices easier for Americans. The bad news is we’re not investing anywhere near what we need to in order to bend the obesity curve and see the returns in terms of health and savings.”

The 12 states with obesity rates higher than 30 percent include Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Indiana, South Carolina, Kentucky and Texas.

In 2006, obesity-related medical costs totaled $147 billion, or nearly 10 percent of total medical spending.

“Our nation has made important inroads to creating healthier communities,” Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in the press release. “Some cities and states that have taken comprehensive action to address the epidemic are beginning to see declines in their obesity rates. But we need to expand and intensify our efforts. Investing in prevention today will mean a healthier tomorrow for our children.”

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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