US adult obesity rate surpasses 40% for first time, hiking COVID-19 risks

The national adult obesity rate was 42.4 percent in 2017-18, up 26 percent from 2008, according to a report from the nonprofit group Trust for America's Health.

This figure  marks the first time the obesity rate has surpassed 40 percent in the nation's history. 

The report is based in part on newly released 2019 data from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System. Twelve states had obesity rates of 35 percent or higher in 2019 — three states more than in 2018. Mississippi had the highest rate, at 40.8 percent for 2019, while Colorado had the lowest at 23.8 percent.

Trust for America's Health said the COVID-19 pandemic raises a new set of health concerns for obese Americans, who are at a higher risk for virus complications. The pandemic is creating more barriers to healthy living since many gyms have closed and unemployed people on tight budgets may be choosing less healthy food,, according to the report.   

"These new data mean that 42 percent of all Americans are at increased risk of serious, possibly fatal, health impacts from COVID-19 due to their weight and health conditions related to obesity," the nonprofit said. 

View the full report here.

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