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

Utah had the lowest rate at 23.1 percent. Eight of the 10 states with the highest rates of obese and overweight children are in the South. Childhood obesity rates have more than tripled since 1980.

"Reversing the childhood obesity epidemic is a critical ingredient for delivering a healthier population and making health reform work," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., RWJF president and CEO. "If we can prevent the current generation of young people from developing the serious and costly chronic conditions related to obesity, we can not only improve health and quality of life, but we can also save billions of dollars and make our health care systems more efficient and sustainable."

The F as in Fat report contains rankings of state obesity rates and a review of federal and state government policies aimed at reducing or preventing obesity. Some additional key findings from F as in Fat 2009 include:

  • The current economic crisis could exacerbate the obesity epidemic. Food prices, particularly for more nutritious foods, are expected to rise, making it more difficult for families to eat healthy foods. At the same time, safety-net programs and services are becoming increasingly overextended as the numbers of unemployed, uninsured and underinsured continue to grow. In addition, due to the strain of the recession, rates of depression, anxiety and stress, which are linked to obesity for many individuals, also are increasing.
  • Nineteen states now have nutritional standards for school lunches, breakfasts and snacks that are stricter than current USDA requirements. Five years ago, only four states had legislation requiring stricter standards.
  • Twenty-seven states have nutritional standards for competitive foods sold a la carte, in vending machines, in school stores or in school bake sales. Five years ago, only six states had nutritional standards for competitiv
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SOURCE Trust for America's Health
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