Report: Missouri is the 10th most overweight state and #1 in child obesity

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Oof. This is tough, Missouri. // Courtesy of WalletHub.

According to consumer data firm WalletHub’s new report on 2020’s Most Overweight & Obese States in America, Missouri is the tenth fattest on the list of most overweight states. Additionally, Missouri ranks 25th in the percentage of adults that eat less than 1 serving of fruits and vegetables per day, and first in child obesity.

Unfortunately, this is no shock to anyone who is familiar with the number of areas on the Missouri side of Kansas City that are officially classified as a food desert, areas that “compensate for their lack of fresh food with local quickie marts, which provide processed, fat-laden, and sugary foods that are known contributors to the nation’s obesity epidemic,” according to the American Nutrition Association.

Although Kansas and Missouri love to add fuel to the fire of their rivalry, obesity statistics are probably not where we want to be competing. Kansas is ranked 19th most overweight of 51 states, which might be a good goal for Missouri to shoot for next year. Additionally, Kansas’ children fare much better than Missouri’s, as they’re tied with Alaska’s children at 46th place out of the states for children with obesity. This is impressive, considering how much aerobic activity Alaska’s children must get chasing moose across the state, or fishing, or whatever.

Food deserts are especially common in rural areas of both states, where healthful grocery stores are sparse, and gas station convenience stores reign. WalletHub’s study, put together for November being National Diabetes month, explores the links between obesity and diabetes, and what factors contribute to each.

There is no shaming anyone who struggles with issues around obesity issues and is certainly not supporting an antiquated view that denies body positivity. This is to acknowledge a systemic issue with nutrition, access to food, rural scarcity, and state-sponsored health and education programs. Having the highest rates of childhood obesity in the country indicates that something in Missouri is going terribly wrong, and these statistics deserve public scrutiny.

Get out and eat your veggies, Missouri. 25th in the percentage of all states where adults eat less than 1 serving of fruit or vegetables a day is average, but if we start eating more apples and spinach, we could be looking more like Massachusetts or Vermont, where they, apparently, love vegetables.

Read the full results of WalletHub’s findings here.

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