Did you hear?...More states reach 30 percent obesity rate, CDC reports

Just 10 years ago, no state in the country had an obesity rate of 30 percent, but new data from the CDC’s Vital Signs report identified nine states with an obesity rate of 30 percent or higher in 2009. See how this $147 billion epidemic affects your business.
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Just 10 years ago, no state in the country had an obesity rate of 30 percent, but new data from the CDC’s Vital Signs report identified nine states with an obesity rate of 30 percent or higher in 2009.

Just published, the CDC Vital Signs report, “State-Specific Obesity Prevalence Among Adults – United States, 2009,” reported 33 states now had an obesity prevalence of 25 percent or higher. In contrast, in 2000, 28 states were 20 percent or below and not one state was above 30 percent.

The nation’s total medical costs of obesity were $147 billion in 2008, the CDC (www.cdc.gov) reported, noting that people who are obese incurred $1,429 per person extra in medical costs compared to people of normal weight.

No state met the country’s Healthy People 2010 goal to lower obesity to 15 percent. Colorado had the lowest rate of obesity at 18.6 percent, followed by the District of Columbia (19.7 percent), Connecticut (20.6 percent), Massachusetts (21.4 percent) and Hawaii (22.3 percent).

The nine states with 30 percent or more obesity rates were: Alabama (31 percent) Arkansas (30.5 percent), Kentucky (31.5 percent), Louisiana (33 percent), Mississippi (34.4 percent), Missouri (30 percent), Oklahoma (31.4 percent), Tennessee (32.3 percent) and West Virginia (31.1 percent). (To see the percentage rates of the remaining states, click here.)

The percentages highlight that the obesity rate was higher in some regions of the country than others. Midwesterners had a rate of 28.2 percent and residents of the South were at 28.4 percent.

Also, the CDC said obesity affects some communities more than others. The highest rates were found among non-Hispanic blacks overall, whose rate was 36.8 percent, and non-Hispanic black women, whose rate was 41.9 percent. The rate for Hispanics was 30.7 percent, and the rate among all non-high school graduates was 32.9 percent.

The CDC report also offered recommendations on how to reverse the epidemic. For more information, click here.

One plan now being undertaken is a National Physical Activity Plan, launched in summer 2010, with a consumer rollout later this year. (Click here to see a July 26, 2010, SNEWS story, “Battle against obesity gains momentum with new, massive national physical activity programs.”) In June, SNEWS covered a study that showed more physical activity is perhaps one way to curb weight gain, but the affect is influenced by gender, race and ethnic background. 

Want to see how your metro area shapes up in terms of fitness? Check out our SNEWS posting from May 2010 from the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual rankings.

--Wendy Geister

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