The fifth annual “F as in Fat” report put out by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that America is getting fatter. Adult obesity rates have increased in 16 states in the past year, with 12 states now reporting 30% of their populations as obese. The highest obesity rates are in the South, where fried foods are eaten in abundance. Following Mississippi, the most obese states are Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee and Louisiana. Only one state in the nation, Colorado has an adult obesity rate below 20% — but at 19.8%, just barely.
Former Surgeon General David Satcher says a total of 190 million Americans are overweight or obese. And he outlines the most important facets of the “epidemic”: associated health problems that are on the rise, from Type 2 diabetes to cancer; bloated health-care costs; and “food deserts” where largely poor communities have little access to healthy food. As in previous years, the report showed that lower-income groups and minorities tend to have more widespread obesity.
Type 2 diabetes rates in 11 states and the District of Columbia have risen in the past year, and all but four states have seen increases in rates of high blood pressure in recent years. Today, every state has hypertension rates over 20%, with nine over 30%.
The reports authors warn against viewing the problem as a series of personal failures. “We need a combination of opportunities that will make healthy choices easier, on the food front and the activity front.” “There’s always going to be an element of personal responsibility, but even when people are motivated, if you live in a neighborhood where the only food that’s available is high-density fast food, it’s going to be very hard to carry through on that personal commitment.” [www.naturalsociety.com] Call 213.816.0358 or log in to BTR.
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