ATLANTA, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- In 2000, no state had an obesity prevalence of 30 percent or more, but in 2009 there were nine states, U.S. health officials said Tuesday.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vital Signs report also says no state met the nation's Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity prevalence to 15 percent.
The recession may have something to do with increasing obesity levels; the number of states with an obesity prevalence of 30 percent or more tripled in two years to nine states in 2009, the report says.
"Obesity continues to be a major public health problem," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, says in a statement. "We need intensive, comprehensive and ongoing efforts to address obesity. If we don't, more people will get sick and die from obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of death."
The report uses data from 400,000 phone survey respondents, who were asked to provide their height and weight, which was used to calculate their body mass index.
For the study, an adult is considered obese if he or she has a BMI of 30 or above -- a 5-foot, 4-inch, woman who weighs 174 pounds or more, or a 5-foot, 10-inch man who weighs 209 pounds or more.
The CDC Vital Signs report is part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review.