A third of all Delawareans (33.5 percent) have obesity, according to the 16th annual State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America report released today by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH).
That’s only slightly higher than the national obesity rate of 30.9 percent. For comparison, Mississippi and West Virginia had the highest rates at 39.5 percent, and Colorado had the lowest at 23 percent.
“These latest data shout that our national obesity crisis is getting worse,” said John Auerbach, president and CEO of Trust for America’s Health. “They tell us that almost 50 years into the upward curve of obesity rates we haven’t yet found the right mix of programs to stop the epidemic. Isolated programs and calls for life-style changes aren’t enough. Instead, our report highlights the fundamental changes that are needed in the social and economic conditions that make it challenging for people to eat healthy foods and get sufficient exercise.”
The report is based in part on newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).
The same report highlight the health consequences of obesity, including increased risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and many types of cancers. Obesity is estimated to increase national healthcare spending by $149 million annually (about half of which is paid for by Medicare and Medicaid) and being overweight or obese is the most common reason young adults are ineligible for military service.
“Policies such as these are proving effective in changing behavior. But, no single solution – however promising – is sufficient. Obesity is a complex problem and will need multi-sector, multi-factor solutions,” said Auerbach. “Creating the conditions that allow people to more easily make healthy choices is central to preventing obesity, as is prioritizing investment in those communities most affected by the crisis.”