Obesity rates in the US continue to climb, with Mississippi at the top of the list for adults, and DC for young people.
Adult obesity rates rose in 31 states last year, according to the fourth annual F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America, 2007 report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH). Twenty-two states experienced an increase for the second year in a row; no states decreased. A new public opinion survey featured in the report finds 85 percent of Americans believe that obesity is an epidemic.
Mississippi topped the list with the highest rate of adult obesity in the country for the third year in a row, and is the first state to reach a rate of over 30 percent (at 30.6 percent). Colorado was the leanest state again this year, however, its adult obesity rate increased over the past year (from 16.9 to 17.6 percent). Ten of the 15 states with the highest rates of adult obesity are located in the South.
Rates of adult obesity now exceed 25 percent in 19 states, an increase from 14 states last year and 9 in 2005. In 1991, none of the states exceeded 20 percent.
The report also finds that rates of overweight children (ages 10 to 17) ranged from a high of 22.8 percent in Washington, D.C. to a low of 8.5 percent in Utah. Eight of the ten states with the highest rates of overweight children were in the South.
“There has been a breakthrough in terms of drawing attention to the obesity epidemic. Now, we need a breakthrough in terms of policies and results,” said Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH. “Poor nutrition and physical inactivity are robbing America of our health and productivity.”
The F as in Fat report contains rankings of state obesity rates and a review of federal and state government policies aimed at reducing or preventing obesity.
Other key findings
Survey on obesity
The report also contains a national opinion survey conducted for TFAH by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Inc. from July 12-16, 2007 (with a +/-3.1 percent margin of error).
Key findings about government’s role, school lunches, physical education and body measurement include:
TFAH recommends a comprehensive approach for helping individuals make healthy choices including support from families, communities, schools, employers, the food and beverage industries, health professionals, and government at all levels.
Some key recommendations include:
The full report with complete state rankings in all categories is available on TFAH’s Web site linked from this page. The report was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Ranking by state
Note: 1 = Highest rate of adult obesity, 51 = lowest.
Rankings are based on combining three years of data (2004-2006) from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Surveillance System to “stabilize” data for comparison purposes. States with statistically significant (p<0.05) increases for one year are noted with an asterisk (*), states with statistically significant increases for two years in a row are noted with two asterisks (**).
Individuals with a body mass index (BMI) (a calculation based on weight and height ratios) of 30 or higher are considered obese.
Obesity rates in adults starting with highest rate
2: West Virginia*
5 (tie): South Carolina** Tennessee*
9 (tie): Indiana, Michigan* Oklahoma**
12 (tie): Missouri**, Texas
14: Georgia; 15: Ohio**
17: North Carolina**
19: North Dakota
20 (tie): Iowa, South Dakota**
23 (tie): Pennsylvania, Virginia*
25 (tie): Illinois, Maryland**
31 (tie): Idaho, Washington**
38 (tie): New Hampshire**, New York
40 (tie): D.C., New Jersey**;
42: New Mexico**
46: Rhode Island**
47 (tie): Connecticut**, Hawaii*
State-by-state Overweight Children Ages 10-17 Rankings
Note: 1 = Highest rate of childhood overweight, 51 = lowest. Rankings are based on the National Survey of Children’s Health, a phone survey of parents with children ages 10-17 conducted in 2003-04 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Additional information about methodologies and confidence intervals are available in the report. Children with a body mass index (BMI) (a calculation based on weight and height ratios) at or above the 95th percentile for their age are considered overweight.
Obesity rates in children starting with highest rate
2: West Virginia
5: North Carolina
7: South Carolina
10: New Mexico
12 (tie): Arkansas, Georgia
15 (tie) Indiana, Missouri
18: New York
26: New Jersey
29 (tie) Hawaii, Maryland, Pennsylvania
33: New Hampshire
39 (tie): North Dakota, South Dakota
41 (tie): Nebraska, Rhode Island
44 (tie) Alaska, Montana;
47 (tie): Idaho, Minnesota
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