Americans Getting Fatter New Study On Fattest States

F as in Fat: Obesity Threatens America’s Future July 29, 2011

Americans are fat and getting fatter, according to a new report from The Trust for America’s Health.  Obesity rates grew in 16 states over the last year and not one state declined.  The 10 states with the fattest adults and the 10 states with the fattest children are listed below, as well as the 10 most fit states in America.

10th. Fat: Michigan
Michigan, now the 10th fattest state, has an obesity rate of 30.5%. Is our national infatuation with french fries to blame? Where does your state stand?

9th. Fat: Arkansas
The obesity epidemic is nationwide, but it’s greatest in the South and among blacks and Latinos. Arkansas was the first state to pass a law to address the epidemic. Parents receive annual reports on the body mass index (BMI) by age of their children, along with nutrition and activity tips. Yet Arkansas still ranks 9th overall with adult obesity at 30.6%. It has the 7th highest percentage of obese children, ages 10 to 17.

8th. Fat: South Carolina
Obesity in South Carolina was in the national spotlight in 2009 when a mother was arrested for neglect because her 14-year-old son weighed 555 pounds. That same year, it ranked third for the greatest number of obese high school students. This year, an adult obesity rate of 30.9% puts it in the top 10 fattest states. The state is promoting better food and fitness in the schools.

7th. Fat: Oklahoma
Every state has seen a steady rise in obesity in the past 15 years, but Oklahoma’s increase was the greatest — from 12.9% to 31.4%. Unhealthy habits are a culprit. The state ranks lowest in fruit and vegetable consumption and among the highest for sedentary lifestyles. Schools now restrict sugary drinks and snacks, and the state supports a farm-to-school program to provide more fresh produce.

6th. Fat: Kentucky
If we live in a fast food nation, Kentucky, home of one of the nation’s major fast-food chains, is a fast-food capital. In a 2.8 mile stretch of Louisville, for example, there are 24 fast food restaurants. The obesity rate for the state’s adults is 31.5%. Kentucky ranks third for the most obese 10- to 17-year-olds, with a rate of 21%. In Louisville, the Mayor’s Healthy Hometown Movement is encouraging exercise and healthy eating.

5th. Fat: Louisiana
Perhaps the Big Easy could learn something from the Biggest Loser. Louisiana remains among the top 10 fattest states with obesity at 31.6% for adults. But the state is working to slim down. Last year, the Fete Rouge, a culinary festival in Baton Rouge, added a Fit Fete to teach about nutrition. Obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater — a measure of body fat based on height in relation to weight.

4th. Fat: Tennessee
Eat well, play more. That’s the mission of Tennessee’s obesity task force. The state still seems stuck at the top of the obesity rankings, as 31.9% of its residents are obese. Tennesseans also have high rates of hypertension and diabetes, health problems that are often associated with obesity. Tennessee is trying to encourage community gardens, more greenways for walking and biking, and better nutrition in schools.

3rd. Fat: West Virginia
West Virginians need to get moving. While they rank third for obesity — at 32.2% —  they are No. 2 for being couch potatoes. More than three in 10 West Virginians are physically inactive, according to the report. West Virginians on the Move, a nonprofit organization, is promoting activity through grants to schools, programs in senior centers, and even community walks.

2nd. Fat: Alabama
Southern cooking is known for fried chicken, fried okra, fried apple pie, and the like.  And this high-fat diet is a likely factor in Alabama’s obesity rate of 32.3%. Alabama also had the biggest jump in diabetes and hypertension in the past 15 years, which are linked to obesity. But slimming efforts are under way. In Scale Back Alabama, an annual weight loss competition, about 30,000 Alabamans lost almost 200,000 pounds last year.

1st. Fat: Mississippi
No place tips the scales more than Mississippi. For the seventh straight year, Mississippi ranked No. 1 in the nation, with an obesity rate of 34.4%. Other unhealthy No. 1 rankings: highest rate of obese children and teens ages 10 -17, highest rates of hypertension and physical inactivity. Obesity is linked to poverty. Mississippi is the nation’s poorest state. Back in 1995, Mississippi ranked No. 1 for obesity — but its rate then was just 19.4%.

Fat Kids:

While Georgia avoided the obesity top 10 for adults, the state ranks second for obese children and adolescents at 21.3%.  Why? Too little physical activity, too few fruits and veggies, and too much screen time are all factors. Also noteworthy: teens in Georgia and many Southern states drink more non-diet sodas than in other states. States and rates where teens drink at least one non-diet soda a day:

•    West Virginia: about 50%
•    Tennessee: 41%
•    Arkansas: about 40%
•    Texas: 38%
•    South Carolina: about 33%
•    Georgia: about 33%
•    Indiana: about 33%
•    Iowa: about 33%
•    Michigan: 30%
•    New Hampshire:  about 25%
•    Massachusetts: about 25%
•    Wisconsin: about 25%
•    Montana: about 25%
•    Utah: 17%

The Most Fit States

10th. Fit: District of Columbia
For a look at the fittest states in the nation, we dipped into the CDC’s 2009 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) — and the District of Columbia came in 10th place. The BRFSS tracks how many adults met physical activity guidelines, among other things.  Almost everyone in DC lives within a half-mile of a park. The city’s obesity ranking is the second-lowest, and it has the highest life expectancy in the United States.

9th. Fit: Maine
Maine is one of the fittest states in the country, according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. In Maine, thanks to the Let’s Go! program, schools are more likely to offer healthy snacks and avoid using food as a reward. Potato chips are out, veggies are in. Adults are more likely to be physically active in Maine than in most other states, as well.

8th. Fit: Oregon
The West is the fittest region in the country, and Oregon is a prime example. With coast and mountains, lush forests and sand-swept deserts, the state’s varied terrain beckons sports enthusiasts. Outdoor Life magazine named Bend, Ore., the No. 1 town for sportsmen. Oregon also has the lowest rate of childhood obesity in the country.

7th. Fit: Colorado
Colorado is one of the fittest places in the country, and it is the only state with an obesity rate below 20%. Sure, its mountains and rivers attract outdoorsy types. But Colorado also has places to play close to home. About two-thirds of children and teens have parks, community centers and sidewalks in their neighborhoods, according to the CDC. With healthy living, Colorado ties with Alaska for the nation’s lowest rate of diabetes.

6th. Fit: Wyoming
Wyoming, home of Yellowstone National Park, is mostly rural, a place where herds may outnumber humans. Hunting, fishing, and camping are popular. Most Wyoming adults are physically active. Still, the state is promoting fitness through a series of challenges, including Maintain Don’t Gain and Flab on Fire. By joining at least three bi-monthly challenges, participants can earn a health insurance discount.

5th. Fit: Idaho

Idaho grows potatoes, not couch potatoes. Only about one in five Idahoans are inactive, and more than half get the recommended amount of physical activity. The Be Outside program encourages children to be active in the outdoors.

4th. Fit: Utah
Utah, home of the 2002 Olympic Games, is known for its mountain resorts and adventure sports. About half of Utah’s adults are highly active, according to the CDC.

3rd. Fit: Vermont
Vermont’s children and adults are among the most active in the nation. Vermonters are also more likely than most to eat their fruits and vegetables. Still, the state promotes healthy habits with the Fit and Healthy Vermonters initiative. In fact, Vermont was named the healthiest state in the nation in the 2010 America’s Health Rankings.

2nd. Fit: Montana
The land of the Big Sky inspires outdoor activity, such as hiking, skiing, and rafting. It also promotes physical activity with programs such as Big Sky Fit Kids. More than half of Montana’s adults get the recommended level of weekly physical activity.

1st. Fit: Alaska
Alaska lives up to its image as a haven for people who love rugged adventure. This state has 17 of the nation’s 20 highest mountain peaks, more than 6,000 miles of coastline, and the highest percentage of active adults. About six in 10 Alaskans are physically active.
Excess weight and Eye Disease
Over 50 clinical studies link excess weight to increased risk of developing eye diseases including macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.  These studies are included in today’s references.

The Pearl ; Disease prevention must become a focus of mainstream medicine.

In 2008 the Biosyntrx science team identified over 50 peer-reviewed studies that linked excess weight to increased risk of degenerative eye disease including macula degeneration, glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy.

Inexpensive nutrient-empty processed food diets are profitable and addictive.  These foods  are responsible for excessive caloric intake because they  don’t produce satiety as quickly as natural nutrient-dense food does.  Mainstream medicine has been too slow to inform the public that they are not getting the nutrients they need from the foods they are eating.   Telling patients that they can get all the nutrients they need from the food they eat is irresponsible, given that the new Health & Human Services (HHS) recommendation for fruit and vegetable intake is 9-13 servings a day to reach disease preventing RDA / DRI levels of vitamins and minerals.  Fewer than 10% of the U.S. populations consumes even 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Lack of adequate physical activity plays a huge role in obesity and excess weight and we can’t stress this fact enough.

Unfortunately, obesity, excess weight and the diseases associated with nutritional deficiencies has become societies problem that must be addressed since processed junk food is the only food that a large portion of our society can afford.
Reprinted from Biosyntrx Friday Pearl written by Ellen Troyer, MT MA
Biosyntrx CEO / Chief Research Officer


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