America's penchant for salty snacks and not exercising is getting worse and the country is getting fatter because of it according to a recent study.
The study, from Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), says adult obesity increased in 16 states. It didn't decline in any states. The report, called F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011, said 12 states have an obesity rate over 30 percent. Four years ago, only one state had obesity over 30 percent.
Today, the state with the lowest obesity rate would have had the highest rate in 1995, Jeff Levi, Ph.D., and executive director of TFAH, said in a statement. There was a clear tipping point in our national weight gain over the last twenty years, and we can't afford to ignore the impact obesity has on our health and corresponding health care spending.
The south is the worst offender according to the report. For the 7th year in a row, Mississippi had the highest obesity rate. Nine out of 10 southern states are obese with states like Oklahoma, Alabama, and Tennessee having the fastest growth.
The best state was Colorado, which was the only one with an obesity level under 20 percent. Connecticut and Washington D.C. also had slow obese growth rates.
The picture wasn't pretty though across the board for the most part. 38 total states have obesity rates over 25 percent. Since 1995, obesity rates have doubled in seven states and increased by at least 90 percent in 10 others.
As obesity has risen, so have diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Diabetes rates have doubled in eight states. In 1995, only four states had diabetes rates above six percent. Today, 43 states have diabetes rates over seven percent.
Along racial lines, blacks had the highest obesity rates. Obesity rates for black people topped 40 percent in 15 states, 35 percent in 35 states, and 30 percent in 42 states and D.C. For Latinos, it's above 35 percent in four states (Mississippi, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Texas) and at least 30 percent in 23 states. White people topped 30 in just four states (Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia).
Those who lived under the poverty line were the most obese. More than 33 percent of those who earned $15,000 per year were obese.
The information in this report should spur us all-individuals and policymakers alike-to redouble our efforts to reverse this debilitating and costly epidemic, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A, RWJF president and CEO, said in a statement.
The report included several recommendations including several proposed legislative items.