THURSDAY, Sept. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 16 states now have at least 35 percent of their residents who are obese, a number that has nearly doubled since 2018.

The CDC 2020 Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps now show that Delaware, Iowa, Ohio, and Texas have joined Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia with high rates of obesity.

The CDC highlighted notable racial and ethnic disparities around obesity. Some states and territories did not have sufficient data to break down the issue by race and ethnicity, but among those that did, 35 states and Washington, D.C., had an obesity prevalence at or above 35 percent among Black residents, 22 states had reached that level for their Hispanic residents, and seven states had that prevalence among White residents.

No states had an obesity prevalence at or above 35 percent among Asian residents. However, some studies have suggested that health risks associated with obesity may occur at a lower body mass index for people who are Asian.

Obesity remains a huge health concern in the United States because obesity brings increased risks for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and even poorer mental health, the researchers said in a CDC news release.

For the nation as a whole, solutions to the obesity epidemic include a “sustained, comprehensive effort from all parts of society,” according to the CDC. This includes addressing poverty, a lack of health care access, and other equity issues that can be contributors to health disparities. On an individual level, people should also talk regularly to their health care provider about their body mass index, family history, lifestyle, and health risks, the CDC team advised.

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