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Rise in Obesity Rates in 31 States

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? Mississippi has the highest rate of adult hypertension (32.7 percent) and Utah the lowest (19.8 percent).

? Seven states now have body mass index screening requirements in schools.

? All states except South Dakota have school physical education requirements, while 44 states plus Washington, D.C., have school health education requirements. There is little enforcement capability in either of these cases, however.

? Seventeen states plus Washington, D.C., have passed taxes on junk food or sodas.

Nonas said, "I don't think they're going far enough. The perfect example of this is the physical-education and health-education requirements, where states have very little ability to enforce it. It's good that people are doing this, but it's not enough."

The report also proposed a 20-step action plan to address the obesity crisis. Recommendations include improved nutritional content on foods and beverages served and sold in schools; improved nutritional labeling on foods; better physical fitness curricula in schools, community-driven efforts to increase access to healthy foods in low-income areas; an improved physical environment with more and better sidewalks, parks and bike paths;; and employer-sponsored programs to increase physical activity and provide better insurance coverage for preventive services.
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