In a new report entitled America’s Future 2023, adult obesity rates are reported to have increased in 28 states nationwide. Thirty-eight states reported obesity rates above 25 percent. Only the District of Columbia reported a decline in obesity rates. The report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) shows an alarming rise in the number of adults who are obese; as of 1991 no state had a rate above 20 percent. Obesity is defined as when your BMI, a number determined by your height and weight, is higher than 30.
In addition, the study shows a troubling rise in obesity among blacks and Latinos, with an obesity rate for adults higher than for whites in more than 40 states. Ten of the eleven states with the highest rate of obesity were in the south, with Mississippi in the top spot for the sixth year in a row. The report also shows a steep rise in obesity for those who earn less. More than one-third of all respondents who reported earning less than $15,000 per year were classified as obese. This is in sharp contrast to those who reported earning more than $50,000 per year, who had an obesity rate of 24 percent.
“Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges the country has ever faced, and troubling disparities exist based on race, ethnicity, region, and income,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH. “This report shows that the country has taken bold steps to address the obesity crisis in recent years, but the nation’s response has yet to fully match the magnitude of the problem. Millions of Americans still face barriers – like the high cost of healthy foods and lack of access to safe places to be physically active – that make healthy choices challenging.”