Obesity increased in USA, obesity policies are failing

Adult obesity rates increased in 23 states of USA and did not decrease in a single state in the past year, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009, a report released by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Adult obesity rates now exceed 25 percent in 31 states and exceed 20 percent in 49 states and Washington, D.C. Two-thirds of American adults are either obese or overweight. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. In 1980, the national average for adult obesity was 15 percent.

Mississippi had the highest rate of adult obesity at 32.5 percent, making it the fifth year in a row that the state topped the list. Four states now have rates above 30 percent, including Mississippi, West Virginia (31.2 percent), Alabama (31.1 percent) and Tennessee (30.2 percent).

“Our health care costs have grown along with our waist lines,” said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH. “The obesity epidemic is a big contributor to the skyrocketing health care 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?”

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. Some key report recommendations for addressing obesity within health reform 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 childcare settings that help make nutritious foods more affordable and accessible and provide safe and healthy 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.

Source: Trust for America’s Health, USA



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