Obesity rates in states around the country are beginning to slow, but the epidemic is still affecting the poor and minorities disproportionately, new research shows.

In 2013, adult obesity rates rose in six states – Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, New Jersey, Tennessee and Wyoming – which was a drastic shift from 2005, when the rate increased in every state.

The new report was based on federal government statistics and released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health. It found that at least one out of five people in every state is now obese. But for the first time, only two states, Mississippi and West Virginia, reported that their rates exceeded 35 percent.

“The rates of obesity among adults are starting to stabilize,” said Ginny Ehrlich, the director of the childhood obesity initiative at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “I think we’re moving in the right direction, but what we need to see is a reversal and a bending of the curve of obesity rates.”

Ms. Ehrlich said that obesity rates were leveling off among children, but there are still some troubling signs. One in 10 children become obese from ages 2 to 5, and about 5 percent of 6- to 11-year-olds are “severely” obese.

Blacks and Hispanics have the highest rates of obesity nationwide, and whites the lowest. The study also showed an economic divide, with people in the lowest income brackets having disproportionately higher rates.

– By AHAHAD O’CONNOR September 8, 2014 – The New York Times