ATLANTA – Rates of adult obesity remained high in 2011, as no state had a prevalence of adult obesity of less than 20 percent, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 2011 State Obesity Map.

The CDC map details adult obesity prevalence in the United States based on Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data. Twelve states had a prevalence of 30 percent or more, and the South had the highest prevalence of adult obesity at 29.5 percent, followed by the Midwest with 29 percent, the Northeast at 25.3 percent and the West at 24.3 percent, according to CDC. 

Mississippi had the highest prevalence of obesity at 34 percent, while Colorado had the lowest at prevalence at 20.7 percent, according to the CDC map.

Obesity continues to impact some groups more than others. Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity at 49.5 percent compared with Mexican Americans (40.4 percent), all Hispanics (39.1 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (34.3 percent).

Regarding obesity and socioeconomic status, the CDC found that:

• Among non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American men, those with higher incomes are more likely to be obese than those with low income.

• Higher income women are less likely to be obese than low-income women.

• There is no significant relationship between obesity and education among men. Among women, however, there is a trend—those with college degrees are less likely to be obese compared with less educated women.

• Between 1988–1994 and 2007–2008 the prevalence of obesity increased in adults at all income and education levels.

The CDC said changes to the BRFSS and to exclusion criteria resulted in a new baseline for estimated state adult obesity prevalence starting with the 2011 data. Therefore, estimates of obesity prevalence from 2011 forward cannot be compared to estimates from previous years, the agency said.

Shifts in estimates from previous years may be the results of the new methods, rather than measurable changes in the percentages. The direction and magnitude of changes in each state varies. These variations may depend on the characteristics of the population. But despite the changes, state prevalence of obesity remained high across the country in 2011, CDC said.