U.S. Obesity Rate Holding Steady, but Still High

U.S. Obesity Rate Holding Steady, but Still High

Obesity rates in the United States appear to be leveling off, but Americans shouldn't think the battle of the bulge is won, health advocates say.

Mental Health Does Not Come With A Manual, It Comes With Friends & Family Support That Never Gives Up!
Join now

In 25 states adult obesity rates exceeded 30 percent this year, and in five states rates topped 35 percent, according to a new report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Forty-six states had an obesity rate above 25 percent -- a sharp contrast to 2000 when no state topped 25 percent, the report noted.

"We're far from out of the woods when it comes to obesity," said John Auerbach, president and CEO of Trust for America's Health.

"But we have many reasons to be optimistic, thanks to parents, educators, business owners, health officials and other local leaders," Auerbach said in a news release from his organization. "Our nation's policymakers must follow their example to build a culture of health."

Adult obesity rates remained stable in most states this year, the report said. Adult obesity even declined in Kansas. However, obesity rates swelled in four states -- Colorado, Minnesota, Washington and West Virginia.

"This supports trends that have shown steadying levels in recent years," the report authors noted. Last year's report, they said, was the first to document any declines in adult obesity rates, with four states showing signs of slimming down.

Studies of children's weight have also noted a leveling off over the past 10 years, plus a recent drop in the number of obese preschoolers.

"After decades of sharp increases, this counts as a significant achievement," said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. "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."

Such progress demands a commitment to healthy school lunches; effective physical education and physical activity; safe streets for walking, biking and playing; and healthy and affordable foods in all neighborhoods, she said.

The heart association also supports taxes on sugary drinks, Brown added.

The report found significant geographic and racial differences in obesity. For instance, nine of the 11 states with the highest obesity rates are in the South.

West Virginia claimed the nation's highest rate -- 38 percent of its residents are obese. Colorado has the lowest rates of obesity at 22 percent.

Obesity rates top 40 percent for blacks in 15 states, and exceed 35 percent among Latinos in nine states. Whites, on the other hand, have an obesity rate above 35 percent in only one state, the report said.

The report also found that adults without a college education and with yearly incomes below $15,000 are far more likely to be obese than their better-educated, better-paid peers.

Also of concern, fitness and weight issues keep 25 percent of young adults from entering the military.

The Internet's Most Trusted Source For Mental Health Information
Sign up

To curb obesity, the report recommended legislative action, including:

  • Full funding of prevention efforts at local, state and federal levels.
  • Prioritizing early childhood policies and programs, including Head Start and the Department of Agriculture's Child and Adult Care Food Program.
  • Maintaining current nutrition standards for school foods, and fully implementing menu labeling rules and the updated Nutrition Facts label.
  • Investing in nutrition assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and transportation policies that support physical activity.
  • Continuing Medicare and Medicaid coverage of services to prevent and treat obesity.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services has tips for keeping kids at a healthy weight.


Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Related Content

Freedom From OCD: An Original Series on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Freedom From OCD: An Original Series on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

It is estimated over 1.2% of the adult population wrestles with Obsessive-Compul...

Read more
Freedom From OCD - Official Trailer
Freedom From OCD - Official Trailer

An original 6-episode series on obsessive-compulsive disorder, available instant...

Read more
A Young Mother's Addiction Led To Death & Her Obituary Struck An International Chord
A Young Mother's Addiction Led To Death & Her Obituary Struck An International Chord

Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir died on Sunday, October 7. While her death was unexpect...

Read more
Why Are Children In Class Being Wrongly Labelled As Having ADHD So Frequently?
Why Are Children In Class Being Wrongly Labelled As Having ADHD So Frequently?

Parents worried about their child falling behind academically because they are b...

Read more
The Real Causes Of Anxiety & Depression Might Not Be What You Think
The Real Causes Of Anxiety & Depression Might Not Be What You Think

Across the Western world today, if you are depressed or anxious and you go to yo...

Read more
Companies Are Opening Their Doors To Talent With Autism
Companies Are Opening Their Doors To Talent With Autism

Twenty-seven-year-old Christopher Pauley thought he had it all figured out when ...

Read more