Disturbingly, nine southern states have obesity rates above 30% of their population, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia. This data is for 2009 and is an increase in the number of states from three in 2007. Obesity raises the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, many cancers and other diseases. Overall, obese Americans cost the nation an estimated $147 billion in weight-related medical bills in 2008, double the amount a decade ago; and obese individuals have medical bills $1,429 a year higher than normal-weight people. When comparing national obesity rates, overall south and midwest are 28%, while the west and northeast are 24%. Meaning, this is a national problem. USA Today
offers a few tips on how to help reduce these growing obesity rates, along with a state-by-state breakdown.