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Obesity rates on the rise, report says


WASHINGTON Despite increased attention among the public in recent years, obesity rates have increased rather than decreased, according to a report released earlier this month.

According to the report by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009,” adult obesity rates increased in 23 states, but did not decrease in any states, while the percentage of obese and overweight children remains at 30% or more in 30 states.

“Our healthcare costs have grown along with our waistlines,” TFAH executive director Jeff Levi said in a statement. “The obesity epidemic is a big contributor to the skyrocketing healthcare costs in the United States.”

Mississippi has had the highest obesity rate in the country, 32.5%, for five years in a row and also has the highest rate of childhood obesity, 44.4%. Colorado has the lowest adult obesity rate, 18.9%, making it the only state with an obesity rate less than 20%, while Minnesota and Utah have the lowest rates of childhood obesity, 23.1%.

“Reversing the childhood obesity epidemic is a critical ingredient for delivering a healthier population and making healthcare reform work,” RWJF president and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey said. “If we can prevent the current generation of young people form 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 healthcare systems more efficient and sustainable.”

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