Monday, September 23, 2019

State of Obesity: U.S. Obesity Rates at Historic Highs

9 States Reach Adult Obesity Rates of 35 Percent or More
The 16th annual State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, released today by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) reports on obesity rates for every state and the District of Columbia and by racial and ethnic groups, age and gender.
Newly released data show that obesity rates are at 35 percent or higher in 9 states – up from 7 last year – and that racial, ethnic, gender and geographic disparities in obesity rates continue to persist.

The report includes 31 recommendations for policy action by federal, state and local government, across several sectors, designed to improve people’s access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity. The recommendations are grounded in two key principles: the complexity of the obesity crisis requires multi-sector interventions and a systems approach, and, interventions should focus on communities with the highest levels of obesity first as a matter of health equity and because such interventions offer the best opportunity to impact the problem.
Key Findings:
  • 1 in 3 Americans have obesity.
  • Obesity rates vary considerably between states with Mississippi and West Virginia having the highest level of adult obesity in the nation at 39.5 percent and Colorado having the lowest level at 23.0 percent.
  • Nearly half of Latino (47 percent) and Black (46.8 percent) adults have obesity while adult obesity rates among White adults is 37.9 percent and 12.7 percent for Asian adults.
  • African-American women have the highest level of obesity among all population groups at 54.8 percent.
Key Recommendations:
  • Expand the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to age 6 for children and for two years postpartum for mothers. Fully fund the WIC breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program.
  • Increase the price of sugary drinks through excise taxes and use the revenue to address health and socioeconomic disparities.
  • Ensure that CDC has enough funding to grant every state appropriate funding to implement evidence-based obesity prevention strategies.
  • Fully fund the Student Support and Academic Enrichment program and other federal programs that support student physical education.
  • Encourage safe physical activity by funding Safe Routes to Schools, Complete Streets, Vision Zero and other pedestrian safety initiatives through federal transportation and infrastructure funding.
  • Ensure that anti-hunger and nutrition-assistance programs, like SNAP, WIC, and others follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and make access to nutritious food a core program tenet.
  • Strengthen and expand school nutrition programs beyond federal standards to include universal meals, and flexible breakfasts.
  • End tax loopholes and business costs deductions related to the advertising of unhealthy food and beverages to children.
  • Cover evidence-based comprehensive pediatric weight management programs and services in Medicaid.


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