Arkansas, Missouri Among Worst in Nation for Obesity

AUGUST 29, 2006 - Posted at 12:56 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A new report ranks Arkansas seventh in the nation in the proportion of its adults considered obese, with more than a quarter of its adult population considered deserving of that label.  The report issued today by Trust for America's Health said Arkansas, with 26.4 percent of its adults considered obese, is part of a Big Belt trend that plagues the South.

Mississippi weighed in as the heaviest state, with 29.5 percent of adults considered obese.  Alabama, West Virginia, Louisiana and Kentucky rounded out the top five heaviest states, according to the report, titled "F is in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing America."

The report also shows Missouri's obesity problem is getting worse.  The Show-Me State ranks 14th in the number of obese adults, one of 31 states reporting increases in the obesity rate.  In 2004, nearly one in four people in Missouri were obese.

Meanwhile, the South is home to nine of the ten heaviest states, according to the study.

Colorado is the slimmest state, with a 16.9 percent adult obesity rate.  Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut and Montana also recorded obesity rates below 20 percent.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)