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Minnesota among four states to see its obesity rates fall

The other three states whose obesity rates fell in 2015 were Montana, New York and Ohio. No state had an adult obesity rate below 20 percent in 2015.

Minnesota was one of only four states to experience a drop in its adult obesity rate between 2014 and 2015, according to a new report released Thursday.

That’s a much better performance than a year earlier, when Minnesota was one of only five states whose rates increased.

State of Obesity

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The other three states whose obesity rates fell in 2015 were Montana, New York and Ohio. As the report points out, these declines mark the first time in the past decade when any state has experienced a drop in its rate — except for Washington, D.C., in 2010.

The “State of Obesity” report, which is based on data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was compiled and published by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A health risk

Although the overall national trend reflected in these latest CDC statistics is positive, obesity remains far too common in the United States, putting millions of Americans at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, arthritis and other chronic diseases and costing the country up to $210 billion annually in health-related costs.

Indeed, the adult obesity rate is at or above 30 percent in 25 states and exceeds 35 percent in four states. Two states, Kansas and Kentucky, saw an increase in their rate between 2014 and 2015.

No state had an adult obesity rate in 2015 below 20 percent.

The state with the highest rate was Louisiana (36.2 percent), and the one with the lowest was Colorado (20.2 percent). Nine of the 11 states with the highest rates are in the South, and most of the states with the lowest rates are in the West or Northeast.

Minnesota’s numbers

Minnesota’s rate was 26.1 percent in 2015, down from 27.6 in 2014. That improved number helped us drop three slots  — from 36th to 39th — on the obesity scale compared to the other states (and the District of Columbia). Only 11 states are “thinner” than us.

All of Minnesota’s neighboring states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa — had obesity rates above 30 in 2015.

“These latest CDC findings confirm that Minnesota has returned to its historically lower obesity rate that remains steady on a year-to-year basis even as other states and the U.S. as a whole continues on an upward trend,” the Minnesota Department of Health noted in a released statement.

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Minnesota adult obesity data
State of Obesity
Minnesota adult obesity data

In addition, Minnesota had the third-lowest rates in the country for both type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, two obesity-related health issues. Among the state’s adults, 7.6 percent had diabetes in 2015, and 26.3 percent had high blood pressure. 

Here are some other Minnesota numbers from the report: 

  • In Minnesota, men are more likely to be obese (27.8 percent) than women (23.7 percent). This is the opposite of the national trend, where women are more likely to be obese (40.4 percent) than men (35 percent).
  • Latinos have the highest obesity rate in the state (31.2 percent), followed by blacks (29.9 percent) and whites (26.5 percent). Nationally, obesity rates are highest among blacks (48.4 percent), followed by Latinos (42.6 percent) and whites (36.4 percent).
  • By age, the Minnesotans with the highest obesity rate are 45 to 64 years old (30.9 percent), followed by people aged 65 and older (28.5 percent) and then those aged 26 to 44 years (24.6 percent). Young Minnesotans — people aged 18 to 25 — have the lowest obesity rate (13.1 percent). A similar pattern is seen nationally, with middle-aged people having the highest rates of obesity (41 percent for 40- to 59-year-olds).

FYI: You can read the “The State of Obesity” report in full here. It’s packed with great state-by-state charts and other visuals.