Take a Hike for Your Health

When it comes to your belly, the state you’re in might have something to do with the state you’re in. (Photo: Eat This, Not That!)

Living in the South or the Midwest might be increasing your risk of weight gain. That’s where the states with the highest obesity rates — including Arkansas, West Virginia, North Dakota and Indiana — are located, according to a new report by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health.

And those aren’t just trivial numbers: when the rate of obesity in your state increases, your own personal risk may increase as well. Recent research at Harvard has shown that your social circle — the folks you interact with on a daily basis — can dramatically impact your own health and fitness. In fact, just having a close friend who becomes obese raises your own risk by 57 percent. (Having a sibling or spouse who’s obese also increases your risk, but to a lesser degree.) In other words, when the folks around you get fat, your own belly starts to expand, too.

Twenty-two states now have obesity rates that top 30 percent, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. And while much of the country is holding steady, obesity rates are growing in five states: Ohio, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah.

The editors at Eat This, Not That! magazine took a deeper look at the numbers.

Note: 1 = Highest rate of adult obesity, 51 = lowest rate of adult obesity. Read more at Yahoo Health. 

Here where NH and VT stand:

37. New Hampshire (27.4% obese)

Steadily expanding waistlines in the The Granite State have landed New Hampshire the 37th spot on this obesity list. But oddly enough, the state’s rate of hypertension — one of the most common obesity related conditions — has remained fairly stable over the past 24 years.

46. Vermont (24.8% obese)

Known for its plush snow and hike-worthy mountains, Vermont residents are clearly tapping their natural resources to shed off the pounds. Just under 25 percent of those living in the Northeastern state are obese, earning them the title of the sixth trimmest state in the nation. However, it’s not all good news: Cases of heart disease and obesity-related cancer cases in Vermont are anticipated to trend upward in the coming years, according to the report.

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