Associated Press Published

West Virginia 1 of 3 States with Obesity Rates Over 35%


  New government data shows that in most states, the rate of adult obesity is not moving.

Results from a telephone survey show obesity rates stayed about the same in 45 states last year. There were small increases in Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Utah.

Some experts said they are glad, overall, that obesity rates aren’t getting worse.

The 2014 survey found that in 22 states, 30 percent or more of the population was obese. They were mostly in the South and Midwest. Three states — Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia – had obesity rates over 35 percent.

The government Monday released the rates, which were analyzed in a separate report by the advocacy group, Trust for America’s Health.

West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling released the following statement in response to the report:

The latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that West Virginia along with 33 other states experienced increases in the adult obesity rate.  Obesity and tobacco use are the leading causes of most of the chronic disease challenges that we are facing as a State.  This underscores the urgency and importance of the work that the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is undertaking with our partners in developing a State Health Improvement Plan that identifies obesity as a priority. One goal is to reduce obesity to 33% by 2020.  DHHR is working with communities, health care systems, and decision-makers to develop initiatives improving access to physical activity and nutritious options.  In 2015, DHHR invested 114 mini-grants geared toward making healthy foods and physical activity accessible to more communities. 

We have seen more than 90,000 patients with high blood pressure achieve control, and more than 102,000 are in adherence to their medication regimens.  We are committed to improving hypertension, diabetes and prediabetes outcomes through screening and referrals to community-based self-management programs.