Well-being report reveals alarming obesity rates among ‘older Americans’

Obesity rates have reached an all-time high in 2014, according to a new report released in Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The study found obesity rates among adults age 55 and older are the highest in Southern and Midwestern states and lowest in Western and Northeastern states. The study also found lower obesity rates were linked to higher well-being. (Photo Credit: Tony Alter/Flickr Commons)

(MEDIA GENERAL) — A new report from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® shows the obesity rate in the United States for adults aged 55 and older is the highest since Gallup and Healthways began tracking and measuring well-being in 2008.

According to the report, the incidence of obesity is at an all-time high of 27.7 percent in 2014, up from 27.1 percent in 2013 and significantly above the 25.5 percent recorded in 2008.

“Obesity rates are highest in Southern and Midwestern states and lowest in Western and Northeastern states, a pattern that has persisted since we began measurement,” the report noted.

With the lowest obesity rate in the nation, Hawaii has fewer than one in five residents who are obese. Montana has followed close behind Hawaii each year, as both states have been ranked in the top 10 for six of the past seven years.

Four other states with consistently low obesity rates include California, Colorado, Connecticut and Massachusetts. All four ranked among the top 10 since 2008.

On the other end of the obesity spectrum, Mississippi has the highest obesity rate in the nation, with 35.2 percent in 2014.

Consistently high obesity rates were recorded for West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Kentucky – all of which have ranked in the bottom 10 each year since the beginning of the study.

The research most prominently and consistently found lower obesity rates were linked to higher well-being.

“Americans who are not obese are more likely to be thriving and less likely to be suffering than those who are obese across all five elements of well-being — in one’s sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, relationship with their community and physical health.”

The study also found that non-obese individuals are more likely to engage in healthy lifestyle habits, and they are less likely to experience health complications.

In addition to research findings, the report offered solutions to reduce obesity rates across populations by focusing on sustained weight loss, emphasizing maintenance skills and confidence, and going beyond physical exercise and nutrition to address emotional, social support and environmental influences.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s