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Obesity rates rose steadily in South Dakota from the 1990s until 2009.
Obesity rates rose steadily in South Dakota from the 1990s until 2009.
South Dakota Dashboard chart
May 2, 2016

Obesity Rate Hovers at 30% in South Dakota

South Dakota's obesity rate hovered around the 30 percent mark for six years, marking at least a pause and perhaps an end to the steady rise since the 1990s, according to federal data

In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, the state's obesity rate for adults weighed in at 29.8 percent, more than double 1995's 13.9 percent and only marginally lower than the all-time high of 30.3 percent hit in 2009. Nearly every year since at least the mid-1990s, the Rushmore State's obesity rate ticked up until 2010, when it dropped to 27.7 percent. Each year since, the rate has been between 27.7 percent and 30 percent. 

The trend appears to have held steady even when researchers tweaked their methodology starting in 2011. (An individual is considered to be obese if he or she has a Body Mass Index of 30 or greater.) 

In recent years, South Dakota has been on par with national obesity rates, ranking 28th among the 50 states and in the middle of the pack regionally in 2014. 

  • Montana (9th) -- 26.4 percent
  • Minnesota (15th) -- 27.6 percent
  • Wyoming (24th) -- 29.5 percent
  • South Dakota (28th) -- 29.8 percent
  • Nebraska (30th) -- 30.2 percent
  • Iowa (35th) -- 30.9 percent
  • North Dakota (42nd) -- 32.2 percent

The least obese state was Colorado, 21.3 percent, while the most obese was Arkansas, 35.9 percent. The national rate was 29.6 percent. 

South Dakotans who are older, poorer and male are more likely to be obese than their counterparts. Since at least 2004, more men than women have been obese in South Dakota. In 2014, 31.5 percent of men and 28.1 percent of women were obese in the state. 

In 2014, South Dakotans earning between $15,000 and $24,999 had the highest rate, 34.6 percent, followed by those earning less than $15,000 (32.5 percent), those earning more than $50,000 (31.4 percent), those earning between $25,000 and $34,999 (30.3 percent) and those earning between $35,000 and $49,999 (30 percent). 

Young adults had obesity rates nearly half that of the state average, while those in late middle age had the highest rate in 2014. South Dakotans ages 18-24 had a rate of 15.8 percent, followed by those 64 and over (26.7 percent), then those ages 25-34 (29.6 percent), then those ages 45-54 (33.4 percent), then those ages 35-44 (34.2 percent) and then those ages 55-64 (37.7 percent). 


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