Hispanics have the second highest rate of obesity among Americans, according to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and reported by HealthDay.

The report found that as of 2009, almost three in every 10 adults are statistically obese and nine states have populations at least 30 percent obese. That number has tripled since 2007.

The report’s data came from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a collection of state-level public health data, and interviews with almost 400,000 adults. In phone surveys, adults were asked about their height and weight, which researchers then used to calculate participants’ body mass index.

Researchers found that 26.7 percent of Americas were obese. Among Hispanics, that number climbed to 30.7 percent. In fact, the only group with a higher rate of obesity was the African-American population, at 36.8 percent.

“Over the past several decades, obesity has increased faster than anyone could have imagined it would,” said CDC director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH. “Obesity has doubled in adults and tripled in children.”

Education and location may be contributing factors. Research showed that almost a third (32.9 percent) of adults without high school diplomas were obese. And they also found that populations in the South and Midwest also showed higher rates of obesity.

According to Freidman, obesity is a “society problem” and as such, it requires a societal response. Proposed initiatives to help fight obesity include: making healthy foods available and affordable, creating green spaces for recreation and offering community support programs and health nutrition counseling.

“We need intensive and ongoing efforts to address obesity,” Freidman said, “or more people will get sick and from complications…such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.”.