Monday, August 27, 2007

Obesity Rate in U.S. Still Climbing

New findings show no state posted a decline in adult rates last year
By Amanda Gardner, HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- More and more Americans are sliding into obesity, a clear signal that this national health problem is getting worse.
According to the fourth annual report prepared by the research group Trust for America's Health and released Monday, adult obesity rates rose in 31 states last year, 22 states experienced an increase for the second year in a row, and no state had a rate decrease.
A related public opinion survey found that 85 percent of Americans now believe that obesity is an epidemic.
For the third year in a row, Mississippi topped the scales with the highest rate of adult obesity in the country. It also has the dubious distinction of being the first state to record a rate higher than 30 percent (30.6 percent), according to the report, F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America, 2007.
Colorado was again the thinnest state, but even its adult obesity rate increased over the past year, from 16.9 percent to 17.6 percent.
"Despite increased attention to the obesity epidemic, obesity is continuing to grow in America," Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, said at a news conference Monday. "While some promising policy efforts are under way, the nation still lacks comprehensive, effective strategies for addressing this serious health crisis."
Dr. James Marks, senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the project, was bleaker in his assessment of the findings at the news conference.
"We find this report to be a devastating indictment. We're in the middle of a public health crisis that is still deteriorating rapidly, and we're treating it like a mere inconvenience rather than the emergency it is. Over the past year, obesity rates got worse in nearly two-thirds of states and got better in zero. That is not progress. The number of states with obesity rates greater than 25 percent has more than doubled in just two years. That's not sending a wake-up call. We're ringing the disaster alarm," he said.
The existence of an obesity epidemic in this country is not news, but the rapidity with which Americans' waistlines are expanding is unprecedented. Obesity lurks behind several serious illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
According to the new report, rates of adult obesity exceed 25 percent in 19 states, up from 14 states last year and 9 in 2005. In 1991, no state had an adult obesity rate exceeding 20 percent.
The South is a locus of the problem, possessing 10 of the 15 states with the highest rates of adult obesity. In addition, the South also had eight of the 10 states with the highest rates of overweight children (aged 10 to 17).
According to Levi, the South had higher levels of type 2 diabetes and hypertension and lower levels of reported physical activity. Mississippi had the highest rate of adult inactivity, at 31.6 percent; Minnesota the lowest at 15.4 percent. In the nation overall, 22 percent of adults reported that they do not engage in any physical activity.
The rates of overweight children ranged from a high of 22.8 percent in Washington, D.C., to a low of 8.5 percent in Utah. Overall, about 25 million U.S. children are overweight or obese, the report found.
"Diseases that used to be considered adult illnesses like type 2 and high blood pressure are becoming increasingly common among children," Marks said. "If we fail to reverse this epidemic, the current generation may be the first in American history to live sicker and die younger than their parents' generation."
Among the study's other findings:
Only 17 states require that school meals and snacks meet higher nutritional standards than the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires (six states enacted new laws in 2006-07).
Only 22 states have mandated nutritional standards for foods sold in vending machines, a la carte, in school stores or at bake sales, and only 26 states limit where and when such foods can be sold on school property beyond federal requirements.
Many physical education requirements in schools are limited in scope or not enforced.
This year's report also included a national opinion survey, which showed that 81 percent of Americans believe the government should play a role in addressing the obesity crisis, 55 percent of parents with children under 18 believed school lunches were not nutritious enough, and more than two-thirds of Americans believe children do not participate in enough physical activity.
In addition, 60 percent of those polled favored a proposal to measure students' BMI annually and provide this information confidentially to parents or guardians (currently 16 states provide BMI or fitness status information to parents or guardians confidentially).
The authors of the report also put forth recommendations for combating the problem.
"There isn't going to be a magic pill or a magic bullet," Levi said. "We need action from government, from communities, from individuals, and we need a major cultural shift. We need to change the norms in our society about healthy eating and about physical activity."
"This is going to require more than any single intervention," Marks added. "Schools have to be behind this, but it's also something that industry and business have to be behind."
Specific recommendations included: developing, at the federal level, a National Strategy to Combat Obesity; ensuring that all Americans have access to a workplace wellness program; increasing research on promoting healthy choices; and providing more recreational places.
"The only scorecard that matters is the health of our people, and right now obesity and the illnesses it causes are still getting worse," Marks said. "The need for strong interventions couldn't be clearer, and our leaders must answer that call."


9_Reps said...

Wow...I hear they're taking the transfat out of Dunkin' Donuts too...guess it'll be OK to wash a couple down with some Red Bull...also, been meaning to share this - A guy from my Kenpo class got his blackbelt last Thursday night...he's been studying for 7 years, is 50 years old, fought 6 full contact rounds, did all the forms, then fought us other students off in 2 man defense techniques...just awe inspiring to watch...when they unfurled that belt I got a rocks...simple as that...
" The number of states with obesity rates greater than 25 percent has more than doubled in just two years"...unbelievable...actually, all too believable...

milestone - hit the scale at 177 this weekend (was 197 at NY camp)...36.5 waist...lotsa work left to do, but I'm really feeling great...

Tony - when will we see the 10 minute series? I can't wait to weave them into my current interval training!!!

Hi everyone from Johnny and Terry

JoeLo said...

Tony, hope all is well. Hey Johnny and Terry! Nick, I know you're out there too!

Rose and I are well. We're into round 2 / phase 2 and are still challenged by P90X! We love it. Sounds like you all are enjoying great results as well!

I started my 2nd round of P90X a week after camp and in that phase another 5lbs fell of. I'm now at 190 from 213. I'm not really surprised with the results, I'm surprised how quick I achieved them. 4 MONTHS!!! That's just incredible! Thank you Tony!

Unfortunately, it sounds like the US is moving backward instead of forward. Since camp, I pay closer attention to my surroundings and it really isn't pretty. Kids are under stimulated in every way and you can hear it in their speech and see it on their bodies. I was at a niece's birthday party this weekend and 4 out of the 7 kids there were obese. The other observation I made was the heavy ones were boys and the girls were all skinny but one.

It's obviously not just the food. It's the Nintendos and Playstations that allow kids to substitute real sports for a video version of it.

But that's why we're here. We need to silently motivate people just by taking the stairs in a public place or passing someone by and causing them to think, "I want to look like them. I have to do something about this."

For those that ask, I willingly share my 'secret'. I had one nay sayer borrow Turbo Jam from me and another actually asked me if I would be their trainer. I almost fell off my chair.

OK... Time for that work thing.

Later peeps!
Joe and Rose.

Anonymous said...

Heck, southern folks just like fried food. Fried chicken, fried taters, cat fish. Heck, there ain't nuthn' that cain't be fried. Ever had a batter dipped and deep fried Twinkie? Yum yum. Pass the biskuts and gravy.

nick said...

The other day I was standing in a real long line at a supermarket checkout and just couldn't help myself from noticing all the crap the people in front of me were loading up onto the counter--I mean, processed, toxic food city! Man, if I would eat a tenth of that stuff, my weight would shoot up 50 lbs in a single week!?! What are we doing to ourselves???

Have you ever cheated with a big bag of Doritos or a cheeseburger from a local joint, and shortly later found yourself to bloat up like the Goodyear blimp and feel just as sluggish. Well, that's your body going into defense mode against all the toxic chemicals and cheap saturated fats that were used in processing that junk food.

There was a study done out there not long ago in which 100 cancer and 100 diabetic patients were interviewed concerning their eating habits. It was found that ALL of the patients averaged three fast food or chain restaurant meals per week during the year before being interviewed. And you know what? the same thing happened regarding patients with heart disease, fibromyalgia, fatigue, obesity, arthritis, and MS. Man, what does that tell you?

You know, I've heard all the counter-arguments that it's too expensive to eat well or it takes too much time to make. Well, just consider all those hospital bills down the road. And if you don't have time to properly eat, it's time to reconsider your priorities.

Thanks so much, Tony, for bringing this horrible reality to light and not just talking a good game, but doing something about it!!!

Lean and reach, because it's gooooorgeous!

Danielle said...

I heard the report on the radio and wasn't really surprised, just sad. My husband and I are at the right weight for our height, but knew we weren't in the best shape. We've been doing P90X for almost 2 weeks now and feel better than we have in our lives. I'm in my late 30's and feel better than I did at 25!

Our sons 5 and 7 don't like all the vegetables we are making them eat and why I make sure they have complete proteins in their diet, but that's my job as a mom. They aren't going to like it much after we teach them pull ups and push ups either, especially when they disobey! :)

I hope some day they will thank us. After all, if most Americans can't get off the couch or out of the hospital because they don't take care of themselves, who will run the country? Makes you wonder!

Thanks Tony, for challenging us to BRING IT everyday!

Bronko said...

Hi Tony,

Minnesota has the lowest rate of adult inactivity in the nation. Yet we are still not the leanest. Must be a lot of obese people working out, including me. Or many obese folks lied about their activity level. Hehehehehe

I just want to also say that I enjoy your articles and I have been inspired to make this a permanent lifestyle change.

Thank you, Tony, and everyone else at MDB.

Anonymous said...

Working in the health care field, I see plenty of obese patients, and how it affects their lives(when you're 35 and in the ICU because of your weight, there's a serious problem) What I don't get is this - for years, I ate like crap and didn't exercise at all. When I say that I ate like crap, I really mean it, I worked in a Sports Bar, free food all day, most of it coming out of a deep fryer. No vegetables, tons of carbs, and lots of fat, and the biggest I got was about 180 pounds. I was in horrible shape, and had no energy, but I wouldn't consider myself "obese" by any means. I about 5'8, so yeah I had a nice gut going, but I wasn't huge by any means. Now, I understand that everyones metabolism is different, and people process foods differently, but how in the hell do you get to be 400 pounds!!!!! I mean seriously, I would have to sit on my couch all day with a steady stream of Big Macs coming my way for years to even come close to that.

I had a patient just the other day, 21 years old, over 400+ pounds, we couldn't even scan him because he was over the table limit(which sucks because if he had something wrong, we wouldn't be able to diagnose it) The thing that really got me was that he didn't have like a desk job or something that didn't offer any physical activity. He had a moderately physical job.

The more time goes on, I realize that there is really no excuse for people to get this large. It's all because of laziness(don't get me wrong, I love being lazy too, I'm one of the laziest bastards I know) and I realize that eating healthy isn't exactly the cheapest or most convenient thing on the world, but, from what I've seen, Quadruple Bypass surgery is exactly a walk in the park either.

Now, I'm not saying that we all need to have the body of a model with 1% body fat or anything, but take walk and eat a salad here and there. One of the best things I've ever done for my diet was cut out soda(I was drinking AT LEAST 3 liters of Dr. Pepper a day) After I cut that out, and just started drinking water, I dropped 30 pounds in no time. I kind of let myself lapse a little in the exercise department and went back up to about 165. Since starting P90X, I'm back down between 150-155, and I don't really feel like I've been "bringing it" like I should. I've missed multiple workouts due to illness and just being lazy(we all have those days,lol) but I'm still seeing a huge difference.

I guess what I'm saying is that it doesn't take whole lot to make a big change in your overall health. Cleaning up your diet some, and doing some moderate exercise will far ahead of where you are now. Hmm, looks like I got a little long-winded there, oh well, you get the point,lol, later.


AlfaSunshine said...

yup doesn't look like you'll be working yourself out of a job anytime soon.


Mr. Step-it-up said...


Not too long ago I was watching a video about trolleys and public transportation shot in the summer of 1955 here in the Northeast. Needless to say, there were many shots of people throughout the video walking to and fro, going about their business. Anyway, I was just floored at what I noticed watching these people--NONE, and I mean none of them were overweight or obese in any sense of the word. Whether they were young, middle-aged or old, everyone looked like they had been doing P90 for at least 2 rounds as well as following the diet plan.

You know, I asked my 72-year-old dad about it and he just answered me with a "yeah, there was very little junk food available anywhere. You had to wait for your food!" Although this is true, I really think there's something more to this than meets the eye. I hope they'll figure it out someday.


Anonymous said...

And as a sort of follow up, take a look at this article...

More incentive to skip the double double and push play another day.

The company I work for raised insurance rates for smokers. As of Jan 1, 2008 - there is no smoking on company property. No smoking anywhere, not in your car, not on the sidewalk, not on company property.

As health care costs increase, more and more companies will be looking for ways to reduce their expenses.

Guess everyone needs to get with the program and start pushing play.

Now if only the company I work for would pay for the next workout routine I buy from Beach Body. Still looking for an update on the 10 Min routines Tony is working on. How 'bout it Tony - tell my boss to buy the DVD's for me? Please? :)


Sienna said...

READ THIS...yikes!!:

"Women ages 20-34 are the fastest growing - pun intended - part of the population. A study in Epidemiologic Reviews reports that in 1960, 21 percent of young women had a BMI of 25 - 30, considered overweight. By 2000, that number had ballooned to 52 percent. At this rate, 75 percent of the entire US population will be shopping for plus sizes by 2015"
[Women's Health, Oct. 2007 issue, pg.34]

Gee to think, size 2-10 will be the specialty store.