By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — Is a college diploma worth all that money?

It is if you want to reduce your risk of becoming obese.

In the United States, about 28 percent of adult Americans are considered obese, which is defined as a person with a body mass index of 30 or higher.

When it comes to education, the only group that falls below that average are those with a college diploma (21.9 percent), according to an analysis by America’s Health Rankings.

The average obesity rate for high school dropouts nationwide is 35.3 percent; for high school graduate it is 32.5 percent; and for college dropouts it is 31.4 percent.

The trend is similar for Illinois:

  • High School Dropout: 33 percent
  • High School Graduate: 33.5 percent
  • College Dropout: 31.6 percent
  • College Graduate: 24.8 percent

The overall obesity rate for Illinois is right at the national average of 28 percent.

The percentage of obese adults as more than doubled since 1990, when about 11 percent were classified as obese.

That number has risen steadily each year.

One once, in 1998, did the rate actually drop from the previous year.

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