Obesity Rates Rise in the U.S.
Americans are becoming more fatter with each passing year. According to a research report, obesity rates touched at least 30% in nine states in 2009. In 2007, only three states reported obesity rates of 30%.
Obesity Percentage in the U.S.
The numbers show that 2.4 million people became obese between the years 2007 to 2009. Now, the total number of obese Americans stands at 72.5 million, a whopping 26.7% of the total population. This is an ominous trend, aver health officials.
Even these high figures may probably be an underestimate. This is because the results were obtained from a phone survey. The respondents, totaling 400,000, were asked to give their height and weight. It is well known that most people tend to think they are lighter and taller, then their actual figures.
Obesity Epidemic and its Costs
Obesity rates have increased really fast in recent decades. The rates have tripled in children and doubled in adults over the past few decades. This means more people will suffer from obesity-related conditions such as cancer, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. The medical costs due to obesity, total about $147 billion annually. Clearly, previous investments and efforts to control obesity have not proved adequate.
Reasons for the Obesity epidemic
The leading causes for the obesity epidemic are too little exercise and overeating junk food. Many Americans do not eat the required amount of vegetables and fruits. Their meals contain high-calorie food items that are rich in fat and sugar. Besides, sugared drinks and fast foods such as French fries are popular. Children do not exercise much at school or elsewhere. Even in school gym classes, children are active only for about 33% of the time.
Mississippi, the Most Obese State
The nine states which reported obesity rates of at least 30% are West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas and Alabama. Mississippi reported the highest obesity rate of 34.4%.
Older People More Obese
People aged over 50 reported higher obesity rates than their younger counterparts. Thus, America’s aging population is also contributing to the obesity epidemic. The highest obesity rate of 41.9% was reported among black women. Hispanics and blacks were more likely to be obese compared to whites. Also, better educated people were less likely to be overweight or obese.
The Shining States
The shining states are Washington D.C. And Colorado which reported obesity rates below 20%. Colorado has invested in walking and biking trails that are popularly used. Thus, the state culture promotes physical activity. But, the low levels of obesity in Washington is hard to explain given that the state has a huge black population. The popular subway could be one reason as people using public transport tend to walk more compared to those who drive cars.