Wisconsin may be known as “America’s Dairyland” but these days it is also getting a reputation for being one of the most obese states in the nation, ranking 15th in the country. In Wisconsin, one in three adults are obese. Obesity is defined by having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30.
According to a new report by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation titled “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future, 2013”, every state in the country has an adult obesity rate above 20 percent. This is a startling increase given that in 1980 no states had an adult obesity rate above 15 percent.
The report also showed that adult obesity rates, which have been steadily increasing the past 30 years, have plateaued in the past year for most states in the country; yet still remain dangerously high.
Prevention efforts matter
While there has been a slight slow-down in adult obesity rate increases in the past year, many health experts agree that prevention efforts must continue to ensure that this health issue is addressed in a timely manner. As baby boomers age and become vulnerable to obesity related diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, prevention efforts must be made to combat this epidemic.
It’s important to keep in mind that many more American adults are falling under the overweight category. Exercise and healthy eating can help reduce the number of overweight adults becoming obese.
Prevention can also help to stop children becoming overweight or obese. Studies have shown that obese children grow up to become obese adults. Efforts in schools to curb vending machine sales, improving the quality of school meals or increasing physical activity can make a difference. Policies in schools, at the work place and in communities that enhance an individual’s ability to make healthier eating and physical activity choices are ways that can make an impact on obesity rates.
“In order to decrease obesity and related costs, we must ensure that policies at every level support healthy choices and we must focus investments on prevention,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH.
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