Public Health Crisis -- Obesity

A team of scientists at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, led by Dr Youfa Wang, reported on July 25, 2007 "If the rate of obesity and overweight continues at this pace, by 2015, 75 percent of adults and nearly 24% of US children and adolescents will be overweight or obese.  (Comparing the statistics reported by state Public Health Departments from 1985 - 2004.)

It's going to be frightening to see where the state by state statistics will be in 2007.  Additionally, the study is predicting that 41% of adults will be obese (BMI of 25% or above is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 or above is obese).  Bottomline: Obese adults are putting themselves at serious risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.  Additionally, there are a myriad of health conditions related to obesity.

For a BMI Calculator for adults, children, and teens click on the website of the Department of Health & Human Resources Services, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.  It will help you understand how to calculate BMI for everyone and will lead you to useful resources about physical activity and nutrition.

The problem becomes apparent when you study the Obesity Map of the United States from 1985 - 2004.  Click on the link and see for yourself!

In Summary:  Here's What Is Happening:

-- In 1985:  There were 14 states that were less than 10% overweight and the rest were at 10-14%

-- In 1991:  There were 8 states with less than 10% overweight and all but 4 states were 10-14% overweight.  The 4 states at 10-14% were:  Louisana (LA), Michigan (MI), Mississippi (MS) and West Virginia (WV)

-- In 1995:  Nearly 23 states were 10-14% overweight (lowest percentage of all the states combined) and all the rest were at 20-24%

-- In 1997:  There were 15 states that were 10-14% overweight (this remained the lowest rate of all states combined), there were 3 states at 20-24%, and the rest of the states were 15-19%

-- In 2001, just four years later:  There was one state (Mississippi) that had reached more than 25% overweight and only one state (Colorado) that had the lowest overweight percentage in the nation, 10-14%.  There were 10 states that had 15-19% overweight and the rest of the states (40 of them) were 20-24% overweight

-- In 2004, the largest changes:  There was not one single state that was less than 15-19% overweight.  There were only 7 states that were at 15-19% overweight: Colorado (CO), Connecticut (CT), Massachusetts (MA), Montana (MT), Rhode Island (RI), Utah (UT), and Vermont (VT).  But, in only 5 years there were 9 states weighing in at more than 25% obesity (BMI 30 or higher):

  1. Alabama (AL)

  2. Arkansas (AK)

  3. Kentucky (KY)

  4. Louisiana (LA)

  5. Michigan (MI)

  6. Mississippi (MS)

  7. Tennessee (TN)

  8. Texas (TX)

  9. West Virginia (WV)

Jenni Ross-Wilkinson, author of
"NUTRITION - THE MISSING LINK:   Personalizing Optimum Performance"

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