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New Report Finds Obesity Epidemic Increases, Mississippi Weighs in as Heaviest State
Date:7/1/2009

Experts Recommend Addressing Obesity through Health Reform, National Strategy

WASHINGTON, July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Adult obesity rates increased in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state in the past year, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009, a report released today by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). In addition, the percentage of obese or overweight children is at or above 30 percent in 30 states.

"Our health care costs have grown along with our waist lines," said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH. "The obesity epidemic is a big contributor to the skyrocketing health care costs in the United States. How are we going to compete with the rest of the world if our economy and workforce are weighed down by bad health?"

Mississippi had the highest rate of adult obesity at 32.5 percent, making it the fifth year in a row that the state topped the list. Four states now have rates above 30 percent, including Mississippi, West Virginia (31.2 percent), Alabama (31.1 percent) and Tennessee (30.2 percent). Eight of the 10 states with the highest percentage of obese adults are in the South. Colorado continued to have the lowest percentage of obese adults at 18.9 percent.

Adult obesity rates now exceed 25 percent in 31 states and exceed 20 percent in 49 states and Washington, D.C. Two-thirds of American adults are either obese or overweight. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. In 1980, the national average for adult obesity was 15 percent. Sixteen states experienced an increase for the second year in a row, and 11 states experienced an increase for the third straight year.

Mississippi also had the highest rate of obese and overweight children (ages 10 to 17) at 44.4 percent. Minnesota and
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SOURCE Trust for America's Health
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