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Obesity Trends

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Vital Signs: Obesity among Low-Income, Preschool-Aged Children, United States 2008-2011; August 9, 2013

 Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States. The prevalence of this disease in 2009-2010 was 12.1% among US children ages 2-5; however, state-specific trends in childhood obesity have not been analyzed since 2008. This report used data from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System to estimate the prevalence of childhood obesity in 40 states, plus the District of Colombia and two US territories. The data showed that 18 states and the US Virgin Islands saw a significant decrease in the prevalence of childhood obesity; the states with the largest declines were Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, and South Dakota. In addition to these declines, 20 states and Puerto Rico saw a plateau in the prevalence of childhood obesity, with neither an increase nor a decline observed. Each state has a different environment and set of policies in play, so it would be difficult to determine the exact cause of the decline in each location; however, it is hypothesized that local, state, and national initiatives that address nutrition and physical activity in early care and education settings may have expedited the decline.


Iowa Public Health Association: New Report: Iowa is the 12th Most Obese State in Nation; Obesity Rates Remain High but Hold Steady in Iowa and Nation, Only Arkansas Sees Increase; August 15, 2013

 The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation published a report entitled F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2013. This report states that while obesity is still high in all states, including Iowa (rate = 30.4%), the rate of increase has been leveling off. In fact, in 2011, rates of obesity increased in 16 states, compared to 2005 when an increase was seen in all but one state. The rates of adult obesity vary based on a number of different factors, including region, age, gender, educational attainment, and socioeconomic status; for example, the baby boomers have a higher rate of obesity than young adults, and people of lower SES have higher rates than people of high SES. The report also describes some strategies that are thought to help slow the increase, but stresses that these have not yet been implemented in high enough levels to reduce trends significantly These strategies include ensuring healthy school food, providing opportunities to be physical active, requiring calorie information to be posted on restaurant menus, and reforming America’s transportation plans to encourage walking and biking. The report hypothesizes that if these and other strategies are implemented nation-wide, the plateau in increases in obesity rates could become a decline.


Friday, October 18, 2013