of obesity up 22%
Since 2016, pre-pregnancy obesity rates rose in Arkansas more than in any other state, according to a new analysis from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Obesity rates rose 22% in Arkansas from 2016-19, compared with growth of less than 10% in 22 states and from 10% to 13.9% in 26 states and Washington, D.C.
Overall, 35% of people who became pregnant in Arkansas were considered obese before they conceived. The national average rate was 29%, up from 26.1% in 2016.
Pre-pregnancy obesity rates grew across the country for white, Black and Hispanic groups and was lowest for people under age 20. About 1-in-5 people from the latter group were obese before getting pregnant.
Maternal obesity is linked to several poor health outcomes for mothers and babies, including diabetes, high blood pressure and difficulties with delivery.
Arkansas is among 12 states with the country's highest rates of obesity, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.