LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A recent study has determined that Arkansas has a weight problem when it is compared to other states.
The study by consumer finance site WalletHub found Arkansas ranks fifth among 50 states and the District of Columbia for being the most overweight and obese. The study looked at 31 key metrics to determine a state’s final ranking, breaking down into categories of overweight and obese prevalence, health consequences and food and fitness.
The Arkansas ranking resulted from high rankings in health consequences and the overweight and obese categories, both with a six out of 51. Even states with a higher overall score tended toward better scores in the health consequences category, except for West Virginia, which ultimately ranked number one as the most overweight and obese state.
Health consequences measured such things as the percentage of the population with high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This category also used projected rankings of these rates by 2030.
The obese and overweight prevalence ranking was a fairly straightforward measure of the percentage of the population that was overweight or obese in all age groups.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies overweight as having a body mass index of 25 to 30 and obese as having a BMI over 30. A BMI between 18.5 to 25 is considered a healthy weight range.
Arkansas scored somewhat better on its food and fitness score, measuring healthy eating habits combined with exercise, leaving it with a ranking of 16 out of a possible 51.
Troubling statistics found by the study’s authors included that Arkansas ranked second in the country in two groups: its percentage of inactive adults and percentage of adults with Type 2 diabetes. The state also ranked fifth for the percentage of adults with high blood pressure.
Nationally, obesity is expected to cost the U.S. health care system nearly $173 billion a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.