WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new report shows West Virginia’s adult obesity rate, while still high, is not gaining.

“After years and years of watching the rates rise, it’s been the first year that they’ve leveled off,” said Laura Segal, director of public affairs for the Trust for America’s Health, with co-authored the study with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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More than one in three West Virginia adults are obese, according to a new report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Segal helped write this year’s obesity report, titled “F As In Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future.” It showed the nation’s 30-year trend of rising obesity rates stalled in 2012, with rates remaining stable in every state except Arkansas.

For West Virginia, that means a continued obesity rate of 33.8 percent, which still ranks the Mountain State the fourth fattest in the United States. Only Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas have higher obesity rates.

Colorado showed the lowest obesity rate at 20.5 percent.

View the complete report here.

“Hopefully, some of the policies and different efforts that people are making will start paying off, and this might be the first sign of progress,” said Segal.

The report shows obesity disparities based on income and education. More than 31 percent of adults 18 and older who earn less than $25,000 annually were obese, compared with 25.4 percent of those earning $50,000 or more. Adults 26 and up who did not graduate high school showed an obesity rate above 35 percent, compared with 21.3 percent of those who graduated from college or technical college.

How all 50 states and the District of Columbia stacked up, from most to least obese:

1. Louisiana (34.7%)

2. Mississippi (34.6%)

3. Arkansas (34.5%)

4. West Virginia (33.8%)

5. Alabama (33%)

6. Oklahoma (32.2%)

7. South Carolina (31.6%)

8. Indiana (31.4%)

9. Kentucky (31.3%)

10. (tie) Michigan and Tennessee (31.1%)

12. Iowa (30.4%)

13. Ohio (30.1%)

14. Kansas (29.9%)

15. (tie) North Dakota and Wisconsin (29.7%)

17. (tie) Missouri and North Carolina (29.6%)

19. Texas (29.2%)

20. (tie) Georgia and Pennsylvania (29.1%)

22. Nebraska (28.6%)

23. Maine (28.4%)

24. (tie) Illinois and South Dakota (28.1%)

26. Maryland (27.6%)

27. Virginia (27.4%)

28. (tie) New Hampshire and Oregon (27.3%)

30. New Mexico (27.1%)

31. Delaware (26.9%)

32. (tie) Idaho and Washington (26.8%)

34. Nevada (26.2%)

35. Arizona (26%)

36. (tie) Alaska, Minnesota and Rhode Island (25.7%)

39. Connecticut (25.6%)

40. Florida (25.2%)

41. California (25%)

42. (tie) New Jersey and Wyoming (24.6%)

44. (tie) Montana and Utah (24.3%)

46. Vermont (23.7%)

47. (tie) Hawaii and New York (23.6%)

49. Massachusetts (22.9%)

50. District of Columbia (21.9%)

51. Colorado (20.5%)

For 10 years now, the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have been releasing adult obesity rates and rankings.

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  • NCWV

    Perhaps a basic cooking course in high school could teach nutrition. I think we used to call that home economics. And, you learned silly stuff like keeping a home budget too. Then, sometime in the 80's we decided it wasn't worth the money and time.


    The obesity epidemic is a huge concern in our great state and it must be taken seriously. To decrease these rates, we must initially educate our youth on healthy and risky behaviors. Hopefully educators and community organizations can help to make a difference moving forward.

  • SAF

    Unfortunately, it's cheaper to eat unhealthy, prepackaged foods than it is to buy fresh produce.

    • mauldawg

      Not true, a head of lettuce $1-2 bag of carrots $1-2 Fruit anywhere from $1-2 per pound. Potatoes $1.50 to $4 a pound for a 5-10 pound bag. Chicken and beef can be added to any meal as well as rice and beans.
      Fast food is not cheap but takes no effort to fix. When you are to lazy to work your to lazy to cook. When you are to lazy to cook you are to lazy to take care of your children. When the govt takes care of you by giving you everything you don't want to work. Its is easy to lay around the house (paid for with my tax money) and do nothing. Third and 4th generation familys have been on the dole and have no desire to ever get off. It is a way of life.

    • Charleston,WV

      That's interesting that you say that considering that a package of tomato, zucchini, squash and cucumber seeds each cost a dollar and twenty five cents.

      • debra

        I used to have a 4 by 4 garden in my yard that contained these vegetables. Now the deer eat everything, and even an electric fence will not keep them out. They even eat the yucca in my yard that they didn't used to touch. My mom and dad is a long time farmer--i was raised on a vegetable "truck " farm and we all worked hard. we used to raise big strawberry patches and pumpkins until the large commercial farms and Walmart , etc, made them cheaper. The strawberries were never as good as in the 60's, because of climate change. Also, now the young people will not work like we used to. their parents give them too much like cars to ride to school. Waste of food stamps is not to be tolerated, but people forget the really starving kids with no shoes that were around way back when. And like the next person writes, we had to buy all necessary to maintain taxes, and I looked at Dad's income taxes one year, and the farm was not making anything. I quit that year because babysitting made more money. Go figure! We ate not much meat, but canned vegetables, and that cost, too. just my opinion. the food tasted better. but you can buy vegetables cheaper at the grocery store. I used to make my own clothes, and I nowcan get them at the salvation army cheaper, too. Think about it. And who is making money on the deer? Permits cost, etc. I busted my old truck twice on the critters. Could have spent that money on food! Think about it for a while! It's not that I agree with people selling their food stamps for drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol, or people esp. kids running around eating candy and pop and getting fat. I just do not want to see old people without food like I did in the early 70's--eating cat food--old men without black lung benefits, etc. and hungry kids, people losing their homes in this recession, and no jobs in poor areas. Bring back the poor houses? Kill off the old people? There has got to be a way to feed the people without corruption and waste!

      • WVWho

        While I agree, it still costs you money to fertilize, water, and take care of said seeds assuming you can keep the bugs/animals out for a decent haul to provide you with a week or two of veggies.

        • ConservativeRealist

          And that is also assuming that you have a place to plant a garden...

  • WVU07

    The obesity epidemic in WV most likely has a lot to do with cultural circumstances. For example, a lot of WV people associate being healthy with being a little thick in the hips. I started going to the gym and lost four pant sizes. My family was concerned that I had developed some type of cancer.

  • Rick

    The article suggests that those with the lowest incomes and the lowest amount of formal education are most likely to be obese, whereas those with higher incomes and more formal education are less likely to be obese. It appears as if the food stamp program is successfully getting food to lower income people, as a lot of them are apparently not going hungry.

    It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between obesity rates and employment, particularly hours worked.

    • debra


      • debra

        Amen to Rick. My comment ended up in the wrong place. let us not be greedy in any event.

        • debra

          nor lazy.

    • bulldog95

      Didnt you know that those on foodstamps can only afford unhealthy food. You have to be rich to eat healthy food, at least thats the myth being thrown around.

      What it really comes down to is if the person is to lazy to prepare and eat healthy food or be lazy and throw another frozen pizza in the oven.

  • WVWho

    Still about the fattest kids in camp with all the outdoor activity resources. Sad sad sad. People need to lay off the macdonalds and take a few walks.

    • debra

      I cook broccoli in the microwave for 5 minutes, chicken for 10, as opposed to my grandma who cooked fried chicken, gravy, biscuits, and a slew of vegetables with butter, not to mention plenty of pies and cakes for us that took hours, and the farm hands, The difference is that we worked the calories off. Laziness in this case is not the problem. Grandma and mom and every one else including 92 year old grandaddy worked in the garden, hoeing and carrying sacks on their backs. Watch your reasoning, please.