New numbers released from the Centers for Disease Control show Iowa’s obesity rate rose slightly in 2010 to 28.4% from 27.9% in 2009. Iowa Department of Public Health consultant, Dennis Haney, says obesity if figured on a person’s height and weight in what’s called the “Body Mass Index.”

Haney says a BMI over 30 is considered obese, so 5-foot-4 inch tall woman who weighs 174 pounds or more would be considered obese, or a 5-foot-10-inch man who weighs 209 pounds or more would also have a BMI of 30 or more and be considered obese. No state reported an obesity rate of below 20% and 12 had rates of 30% or more. Haney says Iowa ranked 18th most obese in the U.S.

He says the good news is that the rate at which obesity is going up has slowed down, and he says they hope to get the rate leveled off so it will start to decrease. Mississippi had the highest obesity rate at 34%. Haney is a community health consultant and says it will take every element of society working together to reduce the “obesity epidemic.”

Haney says adults for the most part understand and know they need to make healthier choices in order to live a healthy life and have a healthy weight. But he says if the environment does not support those healthy choices, it can be very challenging. He says the changes in the environment in the last 20 to 30 years mirror the changes in the obesity rate.

The federal obesity data come from a state-based phone survey that collects health information from approximately 400-thousand adults aged 18 and over. For more information on obesity prevalence, visit: