23 of 25 States with Highest Rates of Obesity are in the South and Midwest (Recipe: Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Spinach Quesadilla)

You’re probably thinking, “I could have guessed that.”

The report is The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) (formerly known as the F as in Fat report series).

The 12th annual report found that rates of obesity now exceed 35% in three states (Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi). Just for comparison, in 1980, no state had a rate above 15%, and in 1991, no state had a rate above 20%.

22 states have adult obesity rates of at least 30%.

45 states have adult obesity rates of at least 25%.

Arkansas has the highest rate of adult obesity at 35.9%.

Colorado has the lowest rate of adult obesity at 21.3%. (It’s interesting that the state with the lowest rates of obesity was also the first state to legalize recreational use of marijuana.)

North Carolina tied for 24th (with Alaska) in this year’s ranking.

Now, nationally, more than 30% of adults, nearly 17% of 2 to 19 year olds and more than 8% of children ages 2 to 5 are obese. Obesity puts some 78 million Americans at an increased risk for a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The report also found that obesity rates differ by region, age and race/ethnicity. No surprise there. Seven of the 10 states with the highest rates are in the South and 23 of the 25 states with the highest rates of obesity are in the South and Midwest. Nine of the 10 states with the highest rates of diabetes are in the South.

American Indian/Alaska Natives have the highest adult obesity rate, 54%, of any racial or ethnic group.

Nationally, obesity rates are 38% higher among Blacks than Whites; and more than 26% higher among Latinos than Whites. (Obesity rates for Blacks: 47.8%; Latinos: 42.5%; and Whites: 32.6%.)

Obesity rates are 26% higher among middle-age adults than among younger adults—rates rise from 30% of 20- to 39-year-olds to nearly 40% of 40- to 59-year-olds. People are getting heavier as they get older.

Prevention among children is key. It is easier and more effective to prevent overweight and obesity in children by helping every child maintain a healthy weight than it is to reverse trends later.

In case you’re interested in your state, based on an analysis of new state-by-state data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, adult obesity rates by state from highest to lowest were:

1. Arkansas (35.9%);
2. West Virginia (35.7%);
3. Mississippi (35.5%);
4. Louisiana (34.9%);
5. Alabama (33.5%);
6. Oklahoma (33.0%);
7. Indiana (32.7%);
8. Ohio (32.6)%;
9. North Dakota (32.2%);
10. South Carolina (32.1%);
11. Texas (31.9%);
12. Kentucky (31.6%);
13. Kansas (31.3%);
14. (tie) Tennessee (31.2%) and Wisconsin (31.2%);
16. Iowa (30.9%);
17. (tie) Delaware (30.7%) and Michigan (30.7%);
19. Georgia (30.5%);
20. (tie) Missouri (30.2%) and Nebraska (30.2%) and Pennsylvania (30.2%);
23. South Dakota (29.8%);
24. (tie) Alaska (29.7%) and North Carolina (29.7%);
26. Maryland (29.6%);
27. Wyoming (29.5%);
28. Illinois (29.3%);
29. (tie) Arizona (28.9%) and Idaho (28.9%);
31. Virginia (28.5%);
32. New Mexico (28.4%);
33. Maine (28.2%);
34. Oregon (27.9%);
35. Nevada (27.7%);
36. Minnesota (27.6%);
37. New Hampshire (27.4%);
38. Washington (27.3%);
39. (tie) New York (27.0%) and Rhode Island (27.0%);
41. New Jersey (26.9%);
42. Montana (26.4%);
43. Connecticut (26.3%);
44. Florida (26.2%);
45. Utah (25.7%);
46. Vermont (24.8%);
47. California (24.7%);
48. Massachusetts (23.3%);
49. Hawaii (22.1%);
50. District of Columbia (21.7%);
51. Colorado (21.3%).

People need to eat less and exercise more it seems!

So, I still have not posted all the awesome pictures from my trip to San Francisco and Yosemite! After A and I hiked to Sentinel Dome we continued to Taft Point which has an amazing view of El Capitan. This hike was one less traveled so there were no crying children or older/slower individuals. We ran into a dad and his daughter who offered to take pictures of us at one of the lookout points. We did the same for them. It was like a mini photo shoot! The day was just gorgeous for this hike! I recommend it!

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When we got to Taft Point, there were crazy people slacklining across the cliffs! Ummm…no thanks. I know they were attached but I have no desire. None at all.

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So, those are all of my Yosemite pictures! I can’t wait to go back with A again! Hopefully, soon!

1 year ago: MRI Results. #bringitNYC (Recipe: Congo Bars)

2 years ago: Running with Music (Recipe: Pasta with Sun Gold Tomatoes)

Quote of the Day:

“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” -Buddha

This combination of flavors was surprisingly good! I really enjoyed this dish! It also seems like a good way to celebrate the arrival of autumn. Yay! I’m so excited for autumn! Cool, crisp runs. Changing leaves. Pumpkin recipes. Get ready for some pumpkin recipes! I have a backlog of them from last year that I never made!

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Spinach Quesadilla

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Spinach Quesadilla


12 ounces of sweet potatoes (about 2), halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 ounce 15- can black beans, rinsed
1 bunch spinach leaves
4 medium tortillas
6 ounces monterey jack cheese


– Heat broiler. Line a large broiler-proof baking sheet with foil. Place the sweet potatoes on a plate, cut-side down, and microwave on high until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

– Heat the oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until the garlic just starts to sizzle. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon and cayenne, and cook for 30 seconds.

– Add the beans and 1/3 cup water and cook, tossing occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, tossing until just beginning to wilt, about 1 minute; remove from heat.

– Place the tortillas on a prepared baking sheet. Scoop the sweet potato from the skins and spread on one half of each tortilla. Top with the bean mixture and cheese, then fold over the tortillas to cover the filling (they will look overstuffed). Broil until the top is golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes.

Courtesy of Women’s Day

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