Americans are larger than ever. Trust for America’s Health, a research group that focuses on disease prevention, has documented the round-belly-growth in their latest report on each state’s obesity rate. According to the report, obesity rates continued to climb in 31 states last year, and no state showed a decline.
With over 30 percent of its adult population considered obese, Mississippi is home to the largest number obese adults; West Virginia and Alabama rank just slightly behind. Colorado, with its great hiking and beautiful outdoors, is the leanest state in the nation at a 17.6 percent obesity rate.
Though the dire news is further evidence that the nation is in the midst of a public health crisis, “It’s one of those issues,” Jeffrey Levi, Trust for America’s Health’s executive director, says, “where everyone believes this is an epidemic, but it’s not getting the level of political and policymaker attention that it ought to.”
Main factors for the high obesity rates are lack of exercise (last year more than 22 percent of Americans did not engage in any physical activity in the past month, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and poverty (the five poorest states were all in the top 10 when it came to obesity rates).
Officials hope the reported rates will stir states into action to “restore the health of their children and their families,” as Dr. James Marks, senior vice president at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, puts it.
For the sake of Americans who will suffer from diabetes and the heart problems that obesity causes, and the health care costs ensuing the diseases, let’s hope the rates have reached their peak.
(08-25) 21:38 PDT Biloxi, Miss. (AP) --
Republican presidential candidate and self-described "recovering foodaholic" Mike Huckabee told Southern governors Saturday that an obesity epidemic could cause serious problems for the American economy, and even for national security.
"Today we hear a lot about the war on terror, how we need to fight it," said Huckabee, who lost 110 pounds several years ago when he was governor of Arkansas. "Let me ask this question: Who's going to fight it in the future if we're a generation so sick that we don't have the capacity to show up for work?"
Huckabee also told an audience at the Southern Governors' Association convention that obesity is creating the first generation of Americans who might not live as long as their parents.
Huckabee - who left office in January after having been governor since July 1996 - implemented several programs to battle weight problems in Arkansas, including having public schools measure students' body fat.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, said during the panel discussion that the eight fattest states in the nation are all in the South.
"I don't know that fried has anything to do with it," Barbour said. "But we weren't raised eating right in the South. But the good news is we can do something about it."
Dr. William Rowley, who worked 30 years as a vascular surgeon and now works at the Institute for Alternative Futures, said 61 percent of U.S. active-duty military personnel are overweight.
Huckabee said that statistic disturbs him.
"You've got a serious situation with a generation of kids coming up so unhealthy they won't be able to pass the military physical," Huckabee said in an interview after the panel discussion. "We keep talking about the war on terror - who's going to fight it if we don't have enough people who are healthy enough to show up and pick up a backpack?"
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