Obesity rates rise across most of the U.S.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

According to the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) research group, obesity rates in 31 states in the United States continued to climb. Not one state showed a decline in obesity rates in the latest report released Monday.

The data presented in the Trust for America's Health's F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America, 2007 report is primarily sourced from CDC's Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS) and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys.

Mississippi became the first state to have more than 30 percent of its residents considered to be obese. West Virginia and Alabama, however, edged very close to the 30 percent marker.

Meanwhile, Colorado continued to hold the title as the leanest state in the U.S., with less than 18 percent of its residents considered to be obese.

The report also examined childhood obesity rates for the first time. The District of Columbia came in at 22.8%, the highest, while Utah had the lowest ranking at 8.5%.

The TFAH's director Jeffrey Levi said the government needs to become more involved in preventing obesity. "It's one of those issues where everyone believes this is an epidemic, but it's not getting the level of political and policymaker attention that it ought to... As every candidate for president talks about health care reform and controlling health care cost costs, if we don't hone in on this issue, none of their proposals are going to be affordable."

However, Levi did acknowledge that many people believe obesity results from personal decision making and not societal policy. But Levi said the modern world can help promote good choices.