Adult obesity rates increased in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state in the past year, according to a report released today by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) In addition, the percentage of children who are obese or overweight is 30 percent or higher in 30 states.
Mississippi had the highest rate of adult obesity at 32.5 percent, marking the fifth year in a row that the state topped the list. Four states now have adult obesity rates above 30 percent, including Mississippi, West Virginia (31.2 percent), Alabama (31.1 percent) and Tennessee (30.2 percent).
Adult obesity rates now exceed 25 percent in 31 states. Colorado (18.9 percent) remains the only state where fewer than 20 percent of adults are obese. The F as in Fat report contains rankings of state obesity rates and a review of federal and state government policies aimed at preventing or reducing obesity. The report also offers recommendations for addressing obesity as part of health reform. Some key recommendations include:
ensuring every adult and child has access to coverage for preventive medical services, including nutrition and obesity counseling and screening for obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes; increasing the number of programs available in communities, schools and child-care settings that help make nutritious foods more affordable and accessible and provide safe places for people to engage in physical activity; and reducing Medicare expenditures by promoting proven programs that improve nutrition and increase physical activity among adults ages 55 to 64.
The report also calls for a National Strategy to Combat Obesity that would define roles and responsibilities for federal, state and local governments and promote collaboration among businesses, communities, schools and families. It would seek to advance policies that:
provide healthy foods and beverages to students at schools; increase the availability of affordable healthy foods in all communities; increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of physical activity at school; improve access to safe and healthy places to live, work, learn, and play; limit screen time; and encourage employers to provide workplace wellness programs.
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