Mississippi, West Virginia tie for fattest states in the Union

America, already the most obese nation in the world, is the fattest it's ever been, according to an annual report from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health.

In 1980, no state had an adult obesity rate greater than 15 percent, according to the report, but in 2013, Mississippi and West Virginia now tie for the fattest state in the Union, with a greater than 35 percent obesity rate. They are followed closely by:

  • Arkansas (34. 6 percent)
  • Tennessee (33.7 percent)
  • Kentucky (33.2 percent)
  • Louisiana (33.1 percent)
  • Oklahoma (32.5 percent)

The least obese state was Colorado, with a 21.3 percent obesity rate. California, Montana, Utah, Vermont, Hawaii and Massachusetts also had obesity rates less than 25 percent.

The average American is 24 pounds heavier than his or her 1960 counterpart, with obesity rates across the country more than doubling in the last 35 years, according to the report, entitled "The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier American 2014."

More than 65 percent of adults in America and almost 32 percent of children are overweight or obese, the report said, with child obesity rates more than triple what they were in 1980. Study authors said the numbers are exacerbated by the lack of exercise and the amount of time people spend sedentary, along with lack of access to affordable healthy foods and an increase in fast-food outlets.

The statistics are even worse for minorities. Almost 48 percent of black and 42.5 percent of Latino citizens are obese, while 32.6 percent of white Americans weigh in as obese, the report stated. However, only 10.8 percent of Asian-Americans are obese. Adults who hold a high school diploma are more likely to be obese than their more highly educated counterparts, and children from low-income families are heavier than their more well-off peers.

Healthcare professionals have a higher-than-average obesity rate of nearly 35 percent, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Only bureaucrats and protective service workers, such as law enforcement and security guards, have higher rates.

"If we don't reverse these trends, the nation will stay on course toward disastrous health and cost outcomes," Ginny Ehrlich, director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's childhood obesity team, told Time magazine.

To learn more:
- here's the report 
- read the Time article