(Washington) The number of US states where at least 35% of the population are obese rose to 16 last year, up from previous years, with significant racial disparities, new data from health officials show Wednesday.
The states concerned are mainly located in the south and the Midwest, region of the center of the country. In 2018, they were just nine of the 50 in the United States, and 12 the following year, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers in particular. In this study, it is defined as corresponding to a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30.
It also triples the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Some of the new states to join this list include Texas and Iowa.
Using combined data from 2018 to 2020, health authorities sought to understand racial disparities.
No state found obesity rates above 35% in people of Asian descent – although studies have shown that health risks from obesity may occur at a lower BMI in this population.
Seven states saw a high prevalence of obesity among white people, 22 among Hispanic citizens, and 35 (in addition to the capital Washington) among black residents.
The data also show a correlation with the level of education. Adults without a high school diploma or equivalent have the highest obesity rate (38.8%) while tertiary graduates have the lowest (25%).