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Waistlines Stretch as U.S. Obesity Rate Rises

The American obesity epidemic is widening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 12 states show obesity rates of 30 percent or higher, and no states had an obesity rate of lower than 20 percent. The study was conducted by Risk Factor Surveillance System , a phone survey of 400,000 adults in the U.S.

The most obese state in the nation was Mississippi, with 34 percent of adults considered obese, and the state with the lowest rate of obesity was Colorado, at 21 percent. As a matter of comparison, in 2000, no state had an obesity rate above 25 percent.

The data suggests, according to the CDC, that no state met the Healthy People 2010 goal of lowering obesity rates below 20 percent over the past decade. Healthy People, an initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services, promotes health and wellness in individuals and communities and looks to a target obesity rate of 30 percent.

The report is based on state-by-state obesity data from CDC, in which people self-report height and weight. Because people tend to underreport weight, the percentage of people who are obese is likely higher than the statistics suggest.

A person is considered obese if he or she is roughly 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight. Extra weight raises the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other health problems.

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