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Oklahoma adults among most obese in country, new data show

Oklahoma is one of 12 states with an obesity rate that tops 30 percent
by Tim Willert Modified: August 13, 2012 at 9:33 pm •  Published: August 14, 2012

Nearly one-third of adults in Oklahoma are obese, according to figures released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Oklahoma is the sixth-most obese state in the country.

Colorado had the lowest adult obesity rate, just less than 21 percent, and Mississippi had the highest, nearly 36 percent.

A state Health Department official expressed disappointment at Oklahoma's 31.1 percent rate but said he is not surprised with the latest numbers.

“We're certainly not satisfied that our obesity prevalence is this high,” said Keith Reed, director of the department's Center for the Advancement of Wellness. “It tells me that we've got a lot of work to do to create a more physically active state.”

The center focuses on increasing physical activity and improving nutrition, along with decreasing tobacco use.

At least 30 percent of adults are obese in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

The South had the highest prevalence of obesity (29.5 percent), followed by the Midwest (29 percent), the Northeast (25.3 percent) and the West (24.3 percent).

The latest figures are based on a 2011 telephone survey that asked adults their height and weight. For the first time, households with only cellphones were included.

Because of changes in CDC survey methods, it is difficult, if not impossible, to compare the data with previous years, Reed said.

Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

“We know that those types of chronic diseases take a significant personal toll on individuals and families, as well as a significant financial toll on Oklahoma's health care system,” Reed said.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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