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Americans are getting fatter, faster than ever before, according to the latest figures from the non-profit Trust for America's Health.

The organisation found that the number of people classed as obese went up in 48 states between 2003 and 2004, taking the national average rate of obesity to a hefty 24.5 per cent.

In 10 states, more than a quarter of people are classified as being obese, with Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia providing the double-whipped topping to the lardy-league table.

Overall 64.5 per cent of the country is either overweight or obese. Projections suggest that this figure will rise to 73 per cent in the next three years, the BBC reports. We would have illustrated this with a pie chart, but fear this would only accelerate the crisis.

Obesity, classified as a body mass index of 30 or over (find yours out here), is a serious health problem.

Overweight and obese people are at far greater risk of a number of illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease, and an ever fatter population will put a strain on healthcare resources.

The figures do need to be interpreted with some caution: many athletes could be classed as overweight or obese because of their extra muscle mass, if only height and weight are taken into consideration.

And sadly, this is nothing for us Brits to feel too superior about. In the last twenty years, the number of obese adults in the UK has roughly doubled, and the trend shows no sign of abating.

Stats suggest we are a mere seven years behind our Yankee cousins on this one - or the time you'd wait for around 122,640 pizzas to be delivered, assuming a 30 minute wait per delivery.

Who's up for a run then...? ®

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