In recent years the number of obese Americans has increased despite public services campaigns warning about health risks. Even though not all overweight people are unhealthy (read Fat People are Healthy, Huh?), the medical community is still concerned that a recent study found that adult obesity rates have increased in 37 states, with no decreases in any states. The annual report was released Tuesday by the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Rates Up
The obesity rates rose for a second consecutive year in 24 states and for a third consecutive year in other states as well. More than 25% of adults are obese in 28 states, and more than 20% of adults are obese in every state except Colorado. The highest obesity rates are located in Southern states compared to the Northeastern and Western States, which have the lowest obesity rates.
Mississippi, West Virginia and Alabama have the most incidence of obesity; Colorado, Hawaii, and Connecticut have the lowest. Researchers estimate that two-thirds of all Americans are now overweight or obese, and – as a direct result – type 2 diabetes has increased in 26 states in the past year. Besides type 2 diabetes, obesity is linked to other diseases like, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, osteoarthritis, cancer, pregnancy complications among others.
Poverty and Obesity
This report also noted the correlation between poverty and obesity: states with the highest obesity rate also ranked the highest in poverty rates.
“Despite widespread acknowledgement that obesity is endangering the health of millions of Americans, the country is still failing to respond clearly or comprehensively,” Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and chief executive officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in the news release.
Public service announcements and other efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle are up against often confusing and powerful magazines and TV ads, which tell Americans they have to be thin (and to use diet products to lose weight fast), but at the same time barrage audiences with tempting images of junk food, fast food, excessive restaurant portions. Until the overwhelming message in society is that of a healthy lifestyle program, we may just keep seeing obesity rates continue to rise.