Virginia is now the 27th most obese state in the nation, according to "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2013," a report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
After three decades of increases, adult obesity rates remained level in every state except for one, Arkansas, in the past year.
However, the latest data show rates remain high — Virginia’s adult obesity rate is 27.4 percent, and 13 states have adult obesity rates above 30 percent.
Forty-one states have rates of at least 25 percent, and every state is above 20 percent, according to the report.
In 1980, no state was above 15 percent; in 1991, no state was above 20 percent; in 2000, no state was above 25 percent; and, in 2007, only Mississippi was above 30 percent.
Some key findings about Virginia and the nation:
Rates vary by age. Virginia’s obesity rate for Baby Boomers (45- to 64-year-olds) is 34.2 percent and, nationally, rates for Boomers have reached 40 percent in two states (Alabama and Louisiana) and are 30 percent or higher in 41 states. By comparison, the obesity rate for seniors (65-and-older) in Virginia is 26.8 percent and rates exceed 30 percent in only one state (Louisiana). The young adult (18- to 25-year-olds) obesity rate in Virginia is 14.1 percent and rates are below 28 percent in every state.
Rates by gender are now consistent. Ten years ago, there was nearly a 6 percentage point difference between rates for men and women (men: 27.5 percent, women: 33.4 percent), and now rates are nearly the same (men: 35.8 percent, women 35.5 percent). Men’s obesity rates have been climbing faster than women’s for this last decade. Virginia’s obesity rate is 27.3 percent for men and 27.5 percent for women.
Rates of “extreme” obesity have grown dramatically. Rates of adult Americans with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher have grown in the past 30 years from 1.4 percent to 6.3 percent — a 350 percent increase. Among children and teens (2- to 19-year-olds), more than 5.1 percent of males and 4.7 percent of females are now severely obese.
Rates vary by education. More than 35 percent of adults ages 26 and older who did not graduate high school are obese, compared with 21.3 percent of those who graduated from college or technical college.
Rates vary by income. More than 31 percent of adults ages 18 and older who earn less than $25,000 per year were obese, compared with 25.4 percent of those who earn at least $50,000 per year.