NUMBER OF THE DAY: 27.6%
27.6% of American adults are obese -- a new record high, and almost 12 percentage points higher than fifteen years ago. This indicator is only one of many in a disturbing trend worrying public health advocates.
Also troubling is the adult obesity rate in Colorado -- the slimmest state in the country. Until last year, Colorado had never had adult obesity over twenty percent. In 2010, it finally crossed the line to 21.4 percent.
The thinnest state in 2010 would have been the fattest in 1995.
In 1995, Indiana was the most obese state, at 20.1 percent. It was the only state above twenty percent. The fittest states had obesity rates barely above 10 percent.
Perhaps the most upsetting statistics come from Alabama and West Virginia, where obese adults outnumber their normal-weight counterparts. In Alabama, 33% of adults are obese compared to only 30.1% of normal weight. In West Virginia, it’s 32.9% obese and 32.1% normal. The public health implications of such widespread obesity are significant, and we don’t even know what the effects of long-term obesity are. As childhood obesity rates climb, we need to be thinking about and enacting solutions. A significant body of research suggests severe long-term health problems result from an overweight youth:
A number of long term adverse effects of childhood obesity are now well established. The socioeconomic impact of obesity in adolescence/young adulthood is considerable, but little known. Obesity in childhood tends to persist into adulthood. Cardiovascular effects of obesity in childhood persist and this predicts a strong link between childhood obesity and morbidity/mortality in adulthood, which should be reflected in increased cardiovascular morbidity in future, as the current generation of obese children become adults. Taken together, this evidence makes a strong case for greater efforts directed at the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. (J J Reilly, et al., Systematic Review: Health consequences of obesity)
We’re going to be looking at obesity a lot in upcoming blog posts. We’ll look at the way it fits into our health care delivery system and what insights might be gleaned from thinking about it. Understanding how to deal with behavioral health issues is going to be crucially important to fixing our cost growth and designing a more holistic, integrated, cost-effective delivery system.
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