SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Mississippi has replaced West Virginia as the most obese state in the United States. Massachusetts is closer to the bottom of that list, sixth from least obese.
A 2013 Gallup well-being poll lists obesity rates for each state. Mississippi tops the list with an estimated 35.4% of its residents considered obese.
Montana’s 19.6% obesity rate was the lowest. Massachusetts came in just a little higher, sixth from the bottom with 22.2 percent.
Baystate Medical Center registered dietitian Paula Serafino-Cross told 22News she credits the state’s leadership in public health initiatives with Massachusetts’ favorable obesity rates.
“It shows we really have to have a health model,” said Serafino-Cross, “It’s not a medical model where we say to a person ‘you have to lose weight. You’re obese. We need to look at the communities together, and actually have a public health approach that helps change the environment. So people can get more exercise. Change the environment so people have access to more healthful food.”
Serafino Cross also told 22News the incidence of obesity among children ages two to five has decreased in Massachusetts.
People considered obese are more likely to suffer from diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure.