And America's Fattest State Is... Mississippi leads way in rising obesity rates By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Jul 7, 2011 1:44 PM CDT Updated Jul 10, 2011 5:48 PM CDT 41 comments Comments A resident is photographed in 2009 walking around downtown Lexington, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (Newser) – Mississippi, take a bow, if you can manage it. You’re the most obese state in the union, with 34% of the population tipping the scales at an unhealthy weight, according to a new report. Alabama and West Virginia were right on Mississippi’s heels, and those three states also have the nation’s highest rates of diabetes and high blood pressure, according to Bloomberg. The South overall is in rough shape; the study refers to 644 counties across 15 Southern states as the “diabetes belt.” Overall, America is getting drastically fatter. Since 1995, 17 states have seen their obesity rates climb at least 90%. The report comes from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which are calling on lawmakers to preserve anti-obesity programs, noting that more than 20% of Medicare and Medicaid spending is on illnesses related to diabetes or smoking. The least obese honors, incidentally, go to Colorado—though even there, obesity-related conditions cost the state $1 billion a year.