Adult obesity rates increased in 37 states in the past year, according to the fifth annual report released Tuesday by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH).
Adult obesity rates rose for a second consecutive year in 24 states and for a third consecutive year in 19 states. No state saw a decrease, says the report.
Though many promising policies have emerged to promote physical activity and good nutrition in communities, the report concludes that they are not being adopted or implemented at levels needed to turn around this health crisis.
More than 25 percent of adults are obese in 28 states, which is an increase from 19 states last year. More than 20 percent of adults are obese in every state except Colorado. On the contrary, in 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. In 1980, the national average of obese adults was 15 percent.
Now, an estimated two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, and an estimated 23 million children are either overweight or obese.
The report finds that rates of type 2 diabetes, a disease typically associated with obesity, grew in 26 states last year. Four states now have diabetes rates that are above 10 percent, and all 10 states with the highest rates of diabetes and hypertension are in the South. The report also found a relationship between poverty and obesity levels. Seven of the 10 states with the highest obesity rates are also in the top 10 for highest poverty rates.
"America's future depends on the health of our country. The obesity epidemic is lowering our productivity and dramatically increasing our health care costs. Our analysis shows that we're not treating the obesity epidemic with the urgency it deserves," said Jeff Levi, executive director of TFAH.
"Even though communities have started taking action, considering the scope of the problem, the country's response has been severely limited. For significant change to happen, combating obesity must become a national priority," said Levi.
(Xinhua News Agency August 20,2008)