U.S. adult obesity rates remained mostly steady―but high―this past year, increasing in Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Utah and remaining stable in the rest, according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, a report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
Arkansas had the highest adult obesity rate at 35.9 percent, while Colorado had the lowest at 21.3 percent. The 12th annual report found that rates of obesity now exceed 35 percent in three states (Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi), are at or above 30 percent in 22 states and are not below 21 percent in any. In 1980, no state had a rate above 15 percent, and in 1991, no state had a rate above 20. Now, nationally, more than 30 percent of adults, nearly 17 percent of 2 to 19 year olds and more than 8 percent of children ages 2 to 5 are obese.
Obesity puts some 78 million Americans at an increased risk for a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
“Efforts to prevent and reduce obesity over the past decade have made a difference. Stabilizing rates is an accomplishment. However, given the continued high rates, it isn’t time to celebrate,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH. “We’ve learned that if we invest in effective programs, we can see signs of progress. But, we still haven’t invested enough to really tip the scales yet.”
Other key findings from The State of Obesity include:
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