Are your clothes a little more snug?

If so, then you may be part of the growing number of obese Americans who Gallup-Healthways cited in its latest index of well being. Gallup’s research revealed that the national obesity rate has increased to 27.1 percent from 26.2 percent in 2012.

Montana has the lowest obesity rate at 19.6 percent while Mississippi has the ignominious distinction of being the state with the highest obesity rate at 35.4 percent. Missouri recorded an embarrassing 29 percent and was number 15 on that list, or 36th worst out of 50 states.

Larry Jones, the director of the Independence Health Department, explains why Missouri is gaining weight. He said part of the answer is, “Per capita, Missouri ranks 49th in the amount of money spent on public health.”

Gallup adds that more than two in 10 adults were obese in nearly every state in 2013, with the exception of Montana, and that health issues and costs associated with the chronic diseases that can accompany obesity will continue to rise.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars. The CDC defines obesity in adults as having a body mass index – a ratio of weight to height – above 30. (Check yours at

The loss of weight means profits for the weight-loss industry as indicated by ABC’s “20-20,” which reports dieting is now a $20 billion dollar industry with 108 million Americans on diets, some with five attempts a year.

“Public health looks to stop the trend and reduce the prevalence of obesity,” Jones says. “More funding must be made available to public health initiative that are aimed at combating the obesity epidemic”

While the state of Missouri does not collect information on obesity at the county or city level, Jones informs me that his department has collected data through its 2013 community health assessment and indicates the city of Independence’s obesity rate to be 36 percent. That’s higher than Mississippi.

Missouri, including you, Independence, it’s time to go on a diet.

I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.

Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at Reach him at