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Texas Among Most Obese States in U.S.

Obesity continues to be a serious and worsening health problem in the U.S. and globally. And Texas is no exception to this trend.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that Texans rank among the 13 states in the nation which have the highest obesity rates.  Between 30 and 35 percent of Texans said they were obese as part of a national survey conducted by the CDC.

The data, collected in 2011, represents a new baseline because of the way cell phones users were included in the survey. The survey is known as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

States also clustered in the highest categories included Texas neighbors Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas. California and other Southwestern states reported some of the lowest levels of obesity.

The CDC reports that one-third of Americans on average are obese. A person is considered obese when their Body Mass Index exceeds 30. The index is based on a relationship of weight to height.

Obesity among children and adolescents is of particular concern and has also been increasing.

A recent study published by the journal Pediatrics found an association between healthier weight and states with tougher laws regulating certain foods found on school premises. Such fare, such as food found in vending machines, snack bars and the like, competes with breakfasts and lunches prepared and served by schools. The effect of stronger laws was most pronounced in the fifth to eight grade age groups studied. The report does not provide information by state, but the National Association of State Boards of Education provides information about some of the limitations states have enacted.

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