Study Says U.S. South is not the Heaviest – Just Honest

Posted 05/29/2013 | By HealthCorps

A recent study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that, contrary to other surveys and studies, the southern part of the United States is not the region with the most overweight people.  The current perception is that Alabama and Mississippi are the number one and two states with the highest rates of obesity.

According to the REGARD study, it is the West North Central part of the country with the biggest confluence of overweight and obese individuals.  That region includes North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri, a state with a 41% rate of obesity.  The South does have the highest rates of hypertension and diabetes.

Since some of these obesity-rate studies are actually based on participant surveys, the researchers found that people from the southern region were probably the most honest when it came to answering questions about their weight. So statistics naturally skewed to that region, in reporting the highest obesity rates.

It appears that there is less of a stigma associated with being overweight or obese in the south, so people felt more comfortable reporting their true weight.  Since some government health funding for obesity is based on presumed factual reporting, researchers noted that states in the southern part of the U.S. were getting substantial funding, maybe unfairly.  Some other regions may now move to the head of the line for government funding, based on the REGARD study.


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