According to numbers released this week from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity continues to be a common, serious and costly public health problem across the nation. Not one state had a prevalence of adult obesity under 20 percent.

“In 2011, we found that rates of obesity are high, with estimates in states ranging from 21 percent to 35 percent,” said Heidi Blanck with the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity.

Twelve states – Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia – tallied an adult obesity rate of at least 30 percent.

New Jersey (23.7%) ranked on the opposite end, one of 11 states with a rate below 25 percent.

Regional differences were discovered through the study. The South had the highest prevalence of obesity, followed in order by the Midwest, Northeast and the West.

“Obesity is not just a cosmetic issue,” warned Blanck. “It really puts individuals at risk for some of the leading causes of death.”

The CDC said obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

“With that comes increased health care costs,” Blanck added.

The phone survey of 400,000 Americans asked adults their height and weight. A new methodology was used to produce the CDC’s 2011 numbers; for that reason, they could not be justly compared to previous findings.