Skip to content

Missouri’s Ranking Is 17th in the Nation for Obesity

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have released their report on obesity in America. Missouri is one of 38 states that has an adult obesity rate above 25 percent.

Missouri is ranked number 17 for obesity with 37.1 percent of adults being classified as obese. To be classified as obese a person must have a BMI or body mass index of 30 or higher.

BMI is a calculation based on a person’s height and weight. It is generally considered a reliable indicator of body fatness in people. It is used for population assessments of overweight and obesity because it only requires height and weight.

To find out your BMI, visit online. To get an idea of what would be classified as overweight and obesity a person would be classified as overweight if they had a BMI of 25-29. A person is considered obese if they have a BMI of 30 or more.

A 5’ 9” person would have a BMI of 25 to 29 if they weighed 169 pounds to 202 pounds. That same person would have a BMI of 30 or more if they weighed 203 pounds or above. The BMI numbers are the same for both males and females.

Health risks associated with being overweight include increased risk of some types of cancer, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, arthritis, sleep apnea and respiratory problems.

It is possible to have a weight that is classified as overweight or obese but not have health risks.

Healthcare providers can assess risks using, diet, physical activity, other measurements to assess actual body fat and other screenings to determine individual risk.

For example, a highly trained athlete may have a BMI that indicates overweight or obesity because of their muscle mass.

In 1991 no state in the United States had an obesity rate above 20 percent. Unfortunately, we are gaining ground in an area that would be better avoided.

Adult obesity rates are showing signs of leveling off nationally, according to the 14th annual State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)-but progress could be eroded if programs are cut and policies are weakened.

This year, adult obesity rates exceeded 35 percent in five states, 30 percent in 25 states, and 25 percent in 46 states. As of 2000, no state had an obesity rate above 25 percent.

State-by-state adult obesity rates and a new policy web-based interactive, featuring more than 20 policies focused on preventing and reducing obesity, are available on

For those interested in being healthier, information related diets, nutrition and exercise can be found on the University of Missouri Extension website at