With the increase in adult obesity rates in 31 states during the past year, an estimated two-thirds of Americans have been left vulnerable to fatal diseases such as// diabetes, stroke and cancer.
All this has happened in spite of federal and state government efforts to curb the overweight epidemic, according to a new report from the Trust for America's Health.
The report, titled F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing America, 2006, was released on Tuesday. This is the third in a series of annual reports by the trust detailing state obesity rates as well as the effectiveness of government policies to fight the problem.
Official figures show that the adult obesity rate rose from 15 percent in 1980 to 32 percent in 2004. This in addition to the number of overweight Americans who are not obese revises the figure to 64 percent. And the childhood obesity rate more than tripled between 1980 and 2004, from 5 percent to 17 percent.
Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, said "The most important news in this report is that the obesity epidemic in America is getting worse. The percentage of obese adults exceeds 25 percent in 13 states. That should sound some serious alarm bells."
The report pointed to a combination of poor nutrition and lack of physical activity as being responsible for the epidemic. Obese further increases the risk for serious health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
Cathy Nonas, director of the obesity and diabetes programs at North General Hospital in New York City and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association said,"What's particularly distressing is that we think we understand why this is happening. It's happening because the environment is built to promote obesity, and it is so pervasive that in order to make changes, we really need to change everything."
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