The number of obese Americans is on the rise once again, with obesity rates rising in 28 states over the past year. This in despite of all the education campaigns about the obesity epidemic and the health risks associated with being overweight.
According to a report released Tuesday titled “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010,” 38 states have obesity rates of more than 25 percent, and almost one-third of American children are considered obese
The annual “F as in Fat” report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation included obesity rates by geographic area and race as well as studies on attitudes about obesity.
In 1991, no state in the country had obesity rates higher than 20 percent. Now, only one state — Colorado — has an adult obesity rate of less than 20 percent, barely sliding under the mark at 19.1 percent.
In the current report researchers found obesity rates in Louisiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arkansas topped 30 percent of the population last year. Previously, only four other states had obesity rates as high as one in three adults obese — Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Campaigns to increase awareness have included first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to reduce obesity within a generation, but no impact has been registered. Mrs. Obama’s spokesman did not return a request for comment.
Obesity is defined by body mass index (BMI), a measurement that relates a person’s weight to height. For adults, a BMI of 30 or above is considered obese. The definition varies for children according to age and sex, but a child is considered obese in the 95th percentile on the BMI chart.
“It tells us the degree to which we still have a problem,” said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, which writes the annual report with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“This report shows that the country has taken bold steps to address the obesity crisis in recent years, but the nation’s response has yet to fully match the magnitude of the problem,” Mr. Levi said. “Millions of Americans still face barriers — like the high cost of healthy foods and lack of access to safe places to be physically active — that make healthy choices challenging.”