The fifth annual "F as in Fat" report shows that adult obesity rates have increased in 16 states during the last 12 months. Additionally, 12 states are reporting that 30 percent of their population are obese.
Colorado is the only state in the country with an obesity rate below 20 percent and Mississippi is the fattest with a 34.4 percent rate, the study found. No states showed a decrease in their rates from last year. Obesity has been linked to diabetes and high blood pressure, possibly causing an increase in life insurance claims.
After reviewing data from the last 20 years, researchers from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that the jumps in obesity were more drastic than originally thought. In 1991, no state had an adult obesity rate above 15 percent. Fifteen years ago Mississippi was the fattest state with a 19.4 percent obesity rate, which is lower than Colorado's rate today.
"It's not unlike with individuals," says Jeffrey Levi, executive director for Trust for America's Health. "You add a pound or two every year and after 10 or 20 years, it becomes a significant thing, and that's sort of what the country has done."