Obesity Report: How Does Your State Rank?

Mississippi and West Virginia top the state rankings for adult obesity with Colorado again at the bottom, according to the new annual report on obesity that gives just a hint of positive news in another year of rising rates.

Click on image to see how your state ranks.

Click on image to see how your state ranks.

For cancer risk, the state of obesity is a major concern. Aside from not smoking, staying a healthy weight is the single biggest lifestyle factor related to cancer risk. AICR estimates that overweight and obesity increase risk of 8 cancer types.

The State of Obesity is the 11th annual report on obesity rates from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (The report was formerly called F as in Fat.) For each state, the report looks at obesity-related cancers as well as heart disease and other health disorders related to obesity. You can also see each state’s policies on issues related to obesity.

Overall, the news is not good: Every state in our country has over one in five people obese; in 43 states, the rates are one in four. Adult obesity rates increased in six states over the past year, and did not decrease in any. More than one in ten children become obese at ages 2 to 5. As of the last available data, 2011-2012, nearly one out of three children and teens are overweight or obese.

The report also found many disparities, with obesity rates highest in the South and among Blacks, Latinos and lower-income, less-educated Americans. A special report on disparities found that almost half of African Americans, 43 percent of Latinos, 33 percent of Whites and 11 percent of Asian Americans were obese.

Here’s the positive: After decades of rising obesity rates among adults, the rate of increase is beginning to slow, according to the report. And national childhood obesity rate has remained stable.

The report issues high-priority recommendations, such as focusing on healthy food financing and improving nutrition and activity in schools and child care settings.

You can see how your state ranks and its obesity-related policies on their interactive site.


Survey: Diners – Especially Women – Using Posted Menu Calories

If you spot calorie information on your restaurant menu, does it help you decide what to order?http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-woman-ordering-food-image21147851

For about six of every ten adults living in select states, that calorie information does help them decide what to order. At least sometimes, that is, with about one of every ten diners using that nutrition information for every purchase, according to a new government survey.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study comes from residents of 17 states that have menu labeling and completed a 2012 phone survey about it. In 2010, a federal law required chain restaurants to display the calories of their menu items, and some states started those requirements quickly.  Given that some studies show Americans eat up to a quarter of our calories at restaurants, using calorie information may help restaurant-goers make healthier choices. That, in turn, can reduce cancer risk.

Respondents were only counted if they visited fast food or chain restaurants and noticed the menu labeling. Among the findings: Continue reading