ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to a recent study, the obesity rate in the US has reached a new high.

Researchers at Gallup now say the country’s obesity rate is at 27.7 percent, which is up from 27.1 percent in 2013.

Gallup started tracking obesity in 2008.  Back then the obesity rate of Americans was at 25.5 percent. The researchers say only 35 percent of Americans are considered “normal weight.”

According to the study, black adults have the highest rate – 35.5 percent, while young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 have the lowest – 17 percent.

The new study also shows that 23.1 percent of Americans who make more than $90,000 a year are obese; while 31.5 percent of those who make less than $36,000 are obese.

The study found that the region of the country with the highest obesity rate is the South at 29.2 percent. The West was at the lowest with a 24.1 percent.

Gallup will come out with a state-by-state average later in the year but last year Colorado was the lowest with an 18.7 obesity rate.

“While it is difficult to identify long-term trends from short-term data, these data suggest, at best, no retreat in the obesity epidemic and, at worse, a deterioration,” Janna Lacatell, director of Healthways Lifestyle Solutions, said in a statement obtained by LiveScience. “Given that obesity leads to higher rates of serious health conditions like diabetes and hypertension, and has been shown to cause disease onset at younger ages, this is a significant public health concern. Further, populations that have a disproportionately high obesity rate, such as African Americans and southerners, also have disproportionately higher diabetes rates.”

The researchers conducted a survey between January 1 and May 19, 2014. Over 64,500 adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia participated in the study.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define overweight as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors; while obesity is having excess body fat.

Overweight and obesity are the result of caloric imbalance and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.

People with a body mass index of between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight, while those with a BMI over 30 are considered obese.  Normal weight is considered when one has a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9.  Anyone with a BMI under 18.4 is considered underweight.


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