by Hans D. Stroo on May 21, 2014

More than a third of U.S. adults are classified as obese and annual medical costs to the nation are $147 billion, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. A Catalyst data visualization developed in partnership with Tableau Software of Seattle shows the five least obese states from 2004 through 2010 were Colorado, Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Connecticut, and the five most obese Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama and Kentucky. Washington was 23rd lowest of 50 states over the seven years and showed little movement annually. States showing marked improvement included Georgia (38th best to 27th) and Alaska (35th to 24th). Coming soon: a visualization of obesity rates county-by-county in Washington state.

Obesity Rates by U.S. State, 2004 – 2010 

This data visualization shows obesity rates for all adults (age 20 and above) in the 50 states from 2004 through 2010, and for all those years combined. Obesity for adults is defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization as a Body Mass Index or BMI of 30 or over. BMI in U.S. = height in inches divided by weight in pounds, with the result multiplied by 703. Obesity is considered by health experts to be one major risk factor for heart disease.