Study: Georgia, Alabama about as obese as the rest of the country

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 5, 2014 

With obesity rates of 28.2 and 28.1 percent, respectively, Georgia and Alabama rank in the middle of the country, in an annual state-by-state analysis issued by Gallup.

Since 2008, the polling firm has tracked obesity rates at the national and state level, drawing from its Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (which is self-reported; a major caveat). Obesity is correlated with several chronic health issues, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol — though the medical reality is more complex; people who are overweight are capable of very good metabolic health.

Adults with a body mass index of 30 or higher are classified as obese.

Gallup's 2013 statistics are hardly encouraging for anyone: as the firm notes, "More than two in 10 adults were obese in nearly every state in 2013, with the exception of Montana. Three in 10 adults were obese in 11 states." The national obesity rate is also on the rise, up to 27.1 in 2013 from 26.2 in 2012.

The news is less depressing for Georgia and Alabama, whose obesity rates were lower than Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky, among others. The country's least obese states were Montana, Colorado and Nevada, at 19.6, 20.4 and 21.1 percent, respectively.

The news is perhaps least depressing for kids: the rate of childhood obesity among kids ages 2-5 is down 43 percent in the last decade, to eight percent.

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