America’s Obesity Epidemic


We regularly publish success stories about guys who overcome the odds—disease, circumstance, etc.—and lose weight to get in the best shape of their lives. We hope these guys motivate you to do it, too. But, as a country, we still have plenty of room for improvement. In fact, America isn’t losing any poundage — it’s gaining weight. According to a report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), twelve U.S. states now have an obesity rate of over 30 percent, whereas four years ago, only one state had a rate above 30 percent. The report examined the growth of obesity rates over the past two decades, and what it found was startling: as of right now, two out of three states, 38 in total, have obesity rates over 25 percent. Twenty years ago, no state had an obesity rate over 15 percent. Perspective: We were fitter when Kevin Costner was a huge deal. “The information in this report should spur us all — individuals and policymakers alike — to redouble our efforts to reverse this debilitating and costly epidemic,” Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A, RWJF president and CEO told Mississippi is the fattest state (for the seventh year in a row), with an obesity rate of 34.4 percent. The next five fattest are: Alabama (32.3 percent), West Virginia (32.2 percent), Tennessee (31.9 percent), Louisiana (31.6 percent), and Kentucky (31.5 percent). The epidemic of obesity seems to mainly reside in the South. Colorado is the fittest state, with a 19.8 percent rate. Connecticut is next, with a 21.8 percent obesity rate, followed by Massachusetts with a 22.3 percent rate. A racial line seems to be drawn too: In all but eight states, more than 30 percent of African-Americans are obese. “Creating healthy environments is key to reversing the obesity epidemic,” Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey told So call your congressman, munch on a salad, and do some push-ups. Personally, I think it’s time we bring back Kevin Costner. Check out for the full list.

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