Adult obesity rates remained high overall, increased in six states in the past year, and did not decrease in any.
That’s some of the most startling results from the 11th annual "State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America" (formerly called F as in Fat) report, released by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on Sept. 4.
The report sheds some serious light on the obesity epidemic in America, and we should be paying close attention.
Adult obesity rates — meaning those who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more — increased in Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, New Jersey, Tennessee and Wyoming.
What’s most alarming is that the rates of obesity now exceed 35% for the first time in two states, are at or above 30% in 20 states and are not below 21% in any. Obesity rates were higher in the South — with the top five states being West Virginia (35.1%), Mississippi (35.1%), Arkansas (34.6%), Tennessee (33.7%) and Kentucky (33.2%) — and among African-Americans, Latinos and low-income Americans.
The report also found that more than 1-in-10 children become obese (BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children of same age/sex) as early as ages 2 to 5.
Some quick facts from the "State of Obesity" report:
• Nearly 40% of American adults ages 40 to 59 are obese.
• The four states with highest obesity rates also have the most adults who don't exercise.
• Colorado has the lowest obesity rate (21.3%) and the lowest rate of physical inactivity (17.9%).
• Oregon has the highest percentage of physically active adults in the U.S. at 83.7%.
• Kentucky high school students have the worst obesity rate in the U.S. at 18%. Utah the best at 6.4%.
• The 10 states with the highest rates of hypertension are all in the South.
• The number of severely obese adults (BMI over 40) has quadrupled in the past 30 years.
• Baby boomers (ages 45 to 64) have the highest obesity rates of any age group — topping 35% in 17 states.
• More than 33% of adults who earn less than $15,000 per year are obese, compared with 25.4% who earn at least $50,000 per year.