(NBC News) A new report reveals the adult obesity rate in the United States now stands at more than 42 percent, the highest it's ever been.
Twelve states have an obesity rate of more than 35 percent.
"That's extremely alarming in terms of its medical implications," says John Auerbach, president and CEO of Trust For America's Health, the group that compiled the report.
Those numbers are also likely still climbing.
The pandemic has plunged millions of families into economic and food insecurity and reduced opportunities for physical activity.
While obesity has long been linked to chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, emerging evidence also ties it to more severe COVID-19 outcomes, including higher rates in hospitalization and mortality.
"It's truly life and death now," Auerbach says. "The number of people who are dying of obesity-related causes has significantly increased with COVID."
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