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Access to reliable data is critical to any effort to improve the nation’s health and health care.

David C. Colby, PhD, vice president, Policy

Featured data story

Mississippi Has the Highest Rate of Obesity

Considerable variation exists in obesity rates among states and by race and ethnicity.

America is struggling with an obesity epidemic with more than one in four people in this country considered to be obese. To see the full picture of the nation’s struggle with weight, it’s important to examine the variations in obesity rates among the states and by race and ethnicity.

Significant variations exist in both the rates of obesity and in the growth of obesity across the states. In Colorado, for example, 20 percent of the population is obese, compared to 35 percent in Mississippi, which has the highest rate of obesity in America.

State-level disparities increase when obesity rates are examined by race and ethnicity. Nationally, the rate of obesity among African-Americans is approximately 1.4 times the rate among whites, but it is even higher when the figures are broken down by state.

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The uninsured: What the numbers say

Heath care for all?

When it comes to health insurance coverage, people in some states, and some ethnicities fare far worse than others. Will the Affordable Care Act help erase the inequalities in access to health care?

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Smoking: what the numbers say

West Virginia tops nation in smokers

More than 1 in 4 adults smoke in West Virginia. Why are some states having such a hard time kicking the habit?

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