US obesity rate soars: Arkansas & Louisiana in top 12 with more than 35 percent

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(NBC News) A new report reveals the adult obesity rate in the United States now stands at more than 42 percent, the highest it’s ever been.  

Twelve states have an obesity rate of more than 35 percent. 

Mississippi has the highest adult obesity rate in the country at 40.8 percent, followed by 11 states that have adult obesity rates above 35 percent, they are: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. 

As recently as 2012, no state had an adult obesity rate above 35 percent; in 2000 no state had an adult obesity rate above 25 percent.

“That’s extremely alarming in terms of its medical implications,” says John Auerbach, president and CEO of Trust For America’s Health, the group that compiled the report.

Those numbers are also likely still climbing.

The pandemic has plunged millions of families into economic and food insecurity and reduced opportunities for physical activity.

While obesity has long been linked to chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, emerging evidence also ties it to more severe COVID-19 outcomes, including higher rates in hospitalization and mortality. 

“It’s truly life and death now,” Auerbach says. “The number of people who are dying of obesity-related causes has significantly increased with COVID.”

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