A new report — “F” as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America 2009 – gives America a failing grade on its efforts to control obesity among children and adults.
The report, released by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that obesity rates rose in 23 states during 2008, with no states showing decreases. The number of overweight children is at or above 30 percent in 30 states.
Mississippi came in dead last for the fifth year in a row, with an adult obesity rate of 32.5 percent. Three states were close runners up: West Virginia reported a 31.2 percent obesity rate; Alabama had 31.1 percent; and Tennessee had 30.2 percent. On the opposite side, the states reporting the lowest obesity rates were Colorado with 18.9 percent; Massachusetts with 21.2 percent; Connecticut with 21.3 percent; Rhode Island with 21.7 percent and Hawaii with 21.9 percent.
“Our healthcare costs have grown along with our waistlines,” according to Jeff Levi, PhD, TFAH’s executive director. “The obesity epidemic is a big contributor to the skyrocketing healthcare costs in the United States. How are we going to compete with the rest of the world if our economy and workforce are weighed down by bad health?”
Fully two thirds of American adults are now overweight or obese. Adult obesity rates are higher than 25 percent in 31 states, and above 20 percent in 49 states and Washington, D.C. Compare this with 1991, when no state reported an obesity rate higher than 20 percent.