US Obesity Rates Hold Steady but Still Weighty Issue

So, the good news is that the obesity rate in the United States appears to be slowing down. However, that does not necessarily mean that Americans are becoming more successful at achieving healthy weights.

Instead, new data warns that the adult obesity rate in 25 states has surpassed the 30 percent threshold this year. Alas, in five states the rate is 35 percent. This is according to new data from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Perhaps most importantly, though, 46 states have an obesity rate higher than 25 percent. Only 17 years ago, not a single state held this statistic.

In light of the research, Trust for America’s Health president and CEO, John Auerbach notes, “We’re far from out of the woods when it comes to obesity. But we have many reasons to be optimistic, thanks to parents, educators, business owners, health officials and other local leaders. Our nation’s policymakers must follow their example to build a culture of health.”

According to the new report, adult obesity rates have held at a stable rate with some rates—Colorado, Minnesota, Washington and West Virginia—showing decline.

“This supports trends that have shown steadying levels in recent years,” lists the report. In the same report from last year, the authors dictate that it was the first time they had ever documented a decline in obesity rates.

American Heart Association CEO, Nancy Brown, also comments, “After decades of sharp increases, this counts as a significant achievement. But with rates still far too high among both adults and kids, particularly among low-income and minority communities, leaders at all levels of government — local, state and federal — must take action and build on this progress.”

In terms of children, of course, much of this could be addressed within an educational framework: healthy school lunches, more effective physical education, encouragement of higher levels of sustained physical activity, better nutrition education.

It should also be noted that the report showed significantly higher obesity rates by geographic and racial data. For example, 9 of the 11 states with the highest rates of obesity are in the South. In addition, obesity rates are higher than 40 percent among the black population in 15 states ; higher than 35 percent among Latinos in 9 states.

Education and income might also be associated: the report found that those adults holding a college education who make more than $15,000 are far less likely to be obese than their low-education, low-income peers.


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