THE BLOG

Expanding Americans

11/03/2011 12:40 pm ET | Updated Jan 03, 2012

The good news: America is no longer the fattest country in the world.

The bad news: Americans are fat, and they're getting fatter.

The fact that America is no longer the fattest country in the world doesn't mean that American waistlines are slimming. The number of obese and overweight Americans continues to rise, even though obese and overweight Pacific Island and Middle Eastern populations are growing at higher rates.

Currently, a reported 34 percent of American adults and 17 percent of children aged 2-19 are classified as obese -- with a BMI of 30 or above. The population of overweight Americans, or those with a BMI of 25 or above, is even higher -- an estimated 68 percent of American adults aged 20 and older are considered overweight or obese. Although some argue body composition (body fat percentage) is a much better indicator of health than BMI, most global health organizations report in terms of BMI.

According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) figures, no state in the U.S. has an obesity rate of less than 20 percent. Thirty-six states have obesity rates of 25 percent or more, while 12 states have obesity rates of 30 percent or more -- these states are concentrated in the southeast.

While Americans continue to expand at the seams, so do many other populations around the world. Since 1980, worldwide obesity has more than doubled according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 1.5 billion adults worldwide are overweight, while 500 million are classified as obese.

These numbers are all the more staggering when contrasted with world hunger statistics. While more than 1 in 10 of the world's adult population was classified as obese in 2008, according to a study by the Imperial College of London, Harvard University and the WHO, an estimated 925 million people across the world -- almost 1 in 7 -- go to bed hungry.

While hunger poses the world's No. 1 health risk, obesity reportedly poses the fifth leading risk for global deaths according to the WHO. Obesity and overweight figures have a significant correlation to other serious ailments including heart disease, certain types of cancer and Type 2 Diabetes. In the U.S., 25.8 million children and adults -- about 8.3 percent of the population -- have diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes; the instances of diabetes are higher in states with high rates of obesity.

According to FindTheBest's Diabetes and Obesity Rates by County Comparison -- which gathers data from the CDC -- there is a strong correlation between obesity and diabetes rates. Counties in the West appear to be the healthiest -- with low obesity, diabetes and physical inactivity rates -- while counties in the southeast are the unhealthiest, with significantly higher rates of all three indicators.

1. Green County, AL (43.7% obesity; 18.2% diabetes rate)
2. Coahoma County, MS (42.7% obesity; 15.9% diabetes rate)
3. Holmes County, MS (42.2% obesity; 15.6% diabetes rate)
4. Humphreys County, MS (42.1% obesity; 15.7% diabetes rate)
5. Jefferson County, MS (41.8% obesity; 15.3% diabetes rate)
6. Tunica County, MS (41.7% obesity; 14.2% diabetes rate)
7. Shannon County, SD (41% obesity; 12.4% diabetes rate)
8. Sumter County, AL (40.8% obesity; 17.1% diabetes rate)
9. Wilcox County, AL (40.8% obesity; 17.1% diabetes rate)
10. Claiborne County, MS (40.8% obesity; 14.8% diabetes rate)

1. Routt County, CO (11.7% obesity; 3.4% diabetes rate)
2. Santa Fe County, NM (12.9% obesity; 4% diabetes rate)
3. Eagle County, CO (12.9% obesity; 3% diabetes rate)
4. Summit County, CO (13% obesity; 3.5% diabetes rate)
5. Teton County, WY (13.2% obesity; 4.1% diabetes rate)
6. Boulder County, CO (13.2% obesity; 3.5% diabetes rate)
7. Pitkin County, CO (13.7% obesity; 4.3% diabetes rate)
8. Summit County, UT (13.9% obesity; 3.9% diabetes rate)
9. La Plata County, CO (14.3% obesity; 4% diabetes rate)
10. Garfield County, CO (14.8% obesity; 4.6% diabetes rate)

Top 10 Most Obese States in the U.S.