Adult Obesity Rate Increases in 28 States

Report cites substantial variation in rates by region, race, income
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- In the past year, the adult obesity rate increased in 28 states, and there are marked differences in obesity rates by region, race, and income, according to a report published June 29 by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D., of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in Washington, D.C., and colleagues write that 28 states experienced an increase in the adult obesity rate in the past year, and that the rate declined only in Washington, D.C. In addition, 38 states now have an adult obesity rate greater than 25 percent. According to the report, black and Latino adults have higher rates of obesity than white adults in at least 40 states plus Washington, D.C., and 10 of 11 states with the highest obesity rates are in the South. In addition, 35.3 percent of adults who make less than $15,000 a year are obese, versus 24.5 percent earning $50,000 or more.

The report includes recommendations that the Prevention and Public Health Fund -- a mandated $15 billion over 10 years as part of the new health reform law -- support obesity- and disease-prevention efforts, and that federal legislation be aligned with new health promotion goals through the reauthorization of several important pieces of federal legislation in upcoming years. It also recommends increasing the commitment to community-based obesity prevention programs begun through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"By effectively investing in proven community-based programs and policies and increasing access to preventive care, the law has the potential to greatly improve the health of millions of Americans. The recommendations in this report focus on a number of important considerations for implementation," according to the report.

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