An analysis by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that Hawaii had the second-lowest obesity rate in the country.
As reported by The Washington Post, the analysis found that 21.8 percent of Hawaii's residents are considered obese. Obesity is defined by the Center for Disease Control as having a body mass index of 30 or higher.
Our islands trailed only Colorado, where 20.7 percent of residents are deemed obese.
The highest levels of obesity were found in Mississippi (34.9 percent), Louisiana (33.4 percent) and West Virginia (32.4 percent). Twelve states have obesity rates of over 30 percent, according to the article.
While certainly all the numbers are alarming, our 1-in-5 number is remarkably better than the 1-in-3 numbers found in the worst states. While we may have a taste for too many deep-fried dishes and sugared treats here, apparently cooking in the Deep South is laden with lard that more than sticks to its residents' ribs.
The analysis concludes that the country is vastly overweight and that obesity adds billions of dollars per year to our health care bill. And, because a new methodology developed by the CDC was used for the first time in this study, it is uncertain if any progress in the fight against obesity is being made.
The Trust for America's Health will soon release a forecast for 2030 obesity rates, state by state, in a publication called "F as in Fat."
The important thing for all of us to remember is that weight and body mass indices are not just numbers, they are health indicators. The key to a long, disease-free life may well depend on skipping a few great-tasting, but calorie-laden, morsels.
(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.