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.


Get Your Kids to Eat More Plant-Based Foods in Honor of Earth Day!

With every meal, children develop their lifelong eating habits. The food choices they make while young can impact how their genes work later in life. Healthy kids make healthy adults, but only 39% of children ages 2 to 17 meet USDA recommendations for fiber, which is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans, and only 7% of children ages 2 to 19 meet recommendations for whole grains. Eating the types of foods listed above that contain natural fiber help combat cancer. Try these three simple steps to help your kids eat more plant-based foods, so they can be healthy now and later!

1)    Turn off the TV: Food companies spend billions on marketing campaigns that utilize television, Internet advertising, brand licensing, and games to promote food products may seem fun, but offer little nutritional value. Kids love the colorful packaging they see on sweets, cereals, and sodas, but don’t realize that the package hides an unhealthy product. Take the time to explain to your child that these companies care about getting their money and not whether they are healthy. Help your children outsmart food companies by introducing them to foods that come in natural packaging, like bananas, apples and oranges. Remember that children like eating foods that are visually appealing.  Cut fruits into fun shapes, serve them in creative ways, and have your kids help wash and prepare them Continue reading


Cut Childhood Obesity with 64 Calorie Cuts (On Average)

Drinking half a soda instead of the full can, eating six fewer French Fries, or playing basketball for about ten minutes are a few ways youths – on average – can cut the 64 daily calories a new study suggests is needed to reach the federal governments target goal for reducing childhood obesity by 2020.

The 64-calorie estimate is an average across the US population – with some kids needing to cut more calories and others fewer. It is not intended to stand in as a figure for any child, note the study authors.

The study was published online today in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past three decades. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults. And obese adults are at increased risk of seven types of cancer, along with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health disorders. Continue reading