By Sam Baker - 07/19/11 03:42 PM EDT
Every state in the U.S. has an obesity rate of at least 20 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.
Obesity rates are rising significantly, according to the CDC data. In 2000, no state had an obesity rate of 30 percent or more. Nine states topped 30 percent in 2009; now there are 12 states over that threshold.
At least 25 percent of the population is obese in 36 states.
"State obesity rates are still high," CDC Director Thomas Frieden said in a statement. "Some of the leading causes of death are obesity-related — heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. We must continue our efforts to reverse this epidemic."
CDC found that obesity is most problematic in the South. The 12 states where obesity tops 30 percent are Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.
The Trust for America's Health recently released similar findings, and said several policies in the healthcare reform law are key to fighting obesity.