State by state, obesity is reaching a tipping point.
What’s happening: New CDC data shows the prevalence of obesity shot up across all states in 2022.
- All states and territories have obesity levels over 20%.
- 22 states recorded ≥35% of their populations as obese, up from 19 states last year and 0 states a decade ago.
- Prevalence in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia exceeds 40% of their populations.
Of note, middle-aged adults (45–54 years old) exhibited exceptionally high levels of obesity, affecting 39.9%. With excess weight raising mortality risk anywhere between 22–91%, and obesity-related cardiac events tripling over two decades, that’s a heavy burden.
Weight a minute. Even with the rapid ascent of GLP-1 drugs, the fine print is often overlooked — questions over accessibility, potential side effects, and who pays for the treatments remain unanswered.
Complicating matters, some people who stop the shots regain weight, at times more than they started with. So, barring meaningful behavior change or lifelong injections, obesity could rebound.
Lifestyle medicine. While the disease stems from a variety of factors that include diet, exercise, sleep, and genetics, according to Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the solution is no secret.
“We know the key strategies that work include addressing the underlying social determinants of health such as access to healthcare, healthy and affordable food, and safe places for physical activity.”
Looking ahead: Even amid clinical success in shedding pounds, quick fixes can’t counteract the physiological deficits of inactivity, malnourishment, and sleep deprivation — meaning for many, weight loss and good health aren’t the same thing.