- The Washington Times - Friday, September 1, 2017

Every state in the U.S. and its territories reported an obesity rate of either 20 percent or more, according to the latest government data.

More than one in four Americans are obese in the U.S., according to the 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention obesity prevalence map. The state with the lowest obesity rate, Colorado, still came in as having 22.3 percent of its population self-report as obese.

West Virginia had the highest prevalence of obesity at 37.7 percent.

Across geography, the highest obesity rates were recorded in the southern states of the continental U.S. with an average of 32 percent of the population obese. Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi joining West Virginia with obesity rates above 35 percent.

The second most obese region is the Midwest (31.4 percent), followed by the Northeast (26.9 percent), and then the West (26 percent).

Obesity rates in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were greater than 30 percent, and Guam was at 25 percent.

The CDC notes that adults with less than a high school education had the highest rates of obesity (35.5 percent), followed by high school graduates (32.3 percent), adults with some college (31 percent), and college graduates (22.2 percent).

Among racial groups, combined data from 2014 to 2016 found that self-reported obesity rates for blacks was 38.3 percent, for Hispanics 32.5 percent, and whites 28.1 percent.

Obesity leads to a number of detrimental health effects including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, certain cancers, poor mental health and can cause problems with infertility and pregnancy. The CDC also says that obesity affects worker productivity, adds to health care costs and hinders the ability to serve in the military.

Federal and state strategies to combat obesity include banning trans fats in restaurants and processed foods, making nutrition information on foods larger and easier to read, education about healthy eating and exercise, and making healthy food choices more available in vending machines and small grocers.

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