U.S. Obesity Rates Higher Than Ever

Obesity rates in the U.S. increased in almost half of the 50 states and did not decrease in a single state over the past year, according to a new report. Find out which states are the fattest, and how the current economic crisis could impact obesity rates in the near term.

obesity rates in AmericaThe war on obesity in America rages on – and with no end in sight. That’s the gist of a new report on obesity in America by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The 2009 study reveals that adult obesity rates increased in almost half of the 50 states and did not decrease in a single state over the past year.

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Which states are the fattest? No surprises there. For the fifth year in a row, Mississippi is the fattest state in the union, with an adult obesity rate of 32.5%. That means that almost one out of every three Mississippians is clinically obese. Mississippi also had the highest rate of obese and overweight children between the ages of 10 and 17 — 44.4%. Nationwide, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled since 1980.

Other fat states include Alabama, West Virginia, and Tennessee, all of which also have adult obesity rates of 30% or higher. And the slimmest state?  Colorado, with an obesity rate of just 18.9%.

The prospects for the future aren’t encouraging. The study’s authors think that the current economic crisis will likely make America’s obesity problem even worse. While junk food will remain cheap, prices for more nutritious foods are expected to rise, making it more costly for people to eat a healthy diet. The strain of the recession is also expected to boost depression, anxiety and stress among Americans – all of which are linked to obesity.

What to do? The study concludes that the best strategy for now includes making greater efforts to provide healthy foods and beverages to students, increasing the level of physical activity among Americans, and encouraging employers to provide workplace wellness programs.

One Response

  1. Kellie Glass RD, LD

    The way to combat the obesity epidemic is to address the 4 most important components to an overall healthy lifestyle. We need to teach people how to incorporate their favorite foods into an overall healthy lifestyle. We don’t have to eliminate the junk food and fast food altogether, we need to teach folks how to choose those things in the context of an active, healthy lifestyle.

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