ST. PAUL - Minnesota has the lowest adult obesity rate among Upper Midwest states despite an increase of 0.7 percent from 2016 to 2017. Iowa has the highest percentage at 36.4 percent, followed by North Dakota, Wisconsin and South Dakota.

Minnesota's adult obesity rate of 28.4 percent also ranks the lowest amongst 12 Midwest states, the Minnesota Department of Health said in a news release.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines obesity as a body mass index of 30 or more. According to information on the Minnesota Department of Health website, BMI does not distinguish between muscle and fat, so some people, such as athletes, may be categorized as overweight even though they do not have too much body fat.

All four Upper Midwest states have seen adult obesity rates increase since 2008.

In North Dakota, 33.2 percent of adults are considered obese, followed by Wisconsin with 32 percent and South Dakota with 31.9 percent. All are above the national rate, which rose to 30.1 percent, according to the CDC.

Minnesota Department of Health researchers analyzed CDC data from 2017 and found that physical activity and diet continue to have a significant influence on Minnesota's obesity rates, the release said. According to self-reported 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from the CDC, Minnesotans who reported some physical activity in the past 30 days had a lower obesity rate than those who did not. Lower obesity rates were also found for those who reported eating at least one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables per day.

"The latest information from the CDC emphasizes that we have more work to do in our state," said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said in the release. "At the same time, it shows that Minnesota is outperforming our neighbors. Plus, our analysis shows healthy eating and physical activity make a difference. This underscores the value of our Statewide Health Improvement Partnership and other initiatives that increase opportunities for people around the state to eat healthier and move more."