Gallup: Tennessee 7th most obese U.S. state

(WBIR) Three in 10 adults are obese in Tennessee, according to Gallup-Healthways State of the States survey.

Gallup ranked Tennessee as the 7th most obese state in the U.S. with 31.3 percent of its population considered obese. Mississippi topped the list with 35.4 percent. Montanans are considered the least obese in the country, according to the State of the States survey.

Gallup said the obesity rate has generally increased across the U.S. each year since 2008. Americans who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher are considered obese. States with a large population of obese people are more likely to report more frequent chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, diabetes, and cancer.

And the price tag that comes with obesity can take a toll on a state's economy.

"Research has shown that the average health care costs for an obese individual are over $1,300 more annually than someone who is not obese," said Dr. James E. Pope, Senior Vice President and Chief Science Officer at Healthways. "Although slowing and even reversing this trend may seem daunting, even modest weight loss of 5 percent to 10 percent of initial body weight can lower the health risks associated with obesity."

But there is some good news to report - the CDC released new data reporting obesity rates among children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old have dropped 43 percent in the past decade.

Gallup-Healthway Well-Being Index survey used a random sample of 178,072 adults, age 18 and older, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Interviews were conducted through landline and cell phones.


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