Obesity rates rise in 31 states

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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WASHINGTON — According to the report "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America, 2007," adult obesity rates have risen in 31 states during the last year and 85% of Americans believe obesity is epidemic.

"There has been a breakthrough in terms of drawing attention to the obesity epidemic," said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, the organization that produced the report. "Poor nutrition and physical inactivity are robbing America of our health and productivity."

The report, which covered all 50 states and the District of Columbia, found 22 states experienced an increase in obesity rates for the second year in a row and that no states decreased. The rate of adult obesity now exceeds 25% in 19 states, which is an increase from 14 states last year and 9 in 2005. As recently as 1991, no states had obesity rates of more than 20%.

For adult obesity rates, Mississippi fared the worse as it came in as the first state to reach a rate of more than 30%, and Colorado was the best coming in at 17.6%. Geographically, 10 out of 15 states with the highest rates of adult obesity are in the South.

For children who are overweight, Washington, D.C., had the highest ranking at 22.8% and Utah scored the lowest at 8.5%.

The report also found 22% of adults reported they do not have any level of physical activity, and 17 states require school lunches, breakfasts and snacks to meet higher nutritional standards than the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires. Additionally, 81% of Americans believe the government should have a role in addressing obesity, and 55% of parents with children under 18 believe school lunches are not nutritious enough. More than 70% said proposals to increase physical education in schools are useful, the Trust for America’s Health reported.

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