Report: Obesity on the rise in NC, especially among children
Posted September 23, 2015
Updated September 24, 2015
A national report on obesity rates shows some progress in parts of the country, but not in North Carolina or many other states in the Deep South and Midwest.
The "State of Obesity" report, produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's "Trust for America's Health," found 23 of 25 states with the highest rate of obesity are in the South and Midwest.
North Carolina ranked 24th in adult obesity, an almost 10 percent increase since the year 2000. About 30 percent of North Carolina's adults are considered obese.
The Tar Heel State ranked seventh highest for obesity rates for 2-to 4-year-olds living in low-income families.
According to the report, Arkansas had the highest adult obesity rate of 35.9 percent. Colorado had the lowest, checking in as 21.3 percent.
Nationally, 54 percent of American Indian and Alaskan natives are obese. Forty-seven percent of blacks, 42.5 percent of Latinos and 32.6 percent of whites are obese.
"Children of color and kids in low-income areas are more likely to be overweight or obese, and this report confirms that the same is true for adults," John Lumpkin, vice president and director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said.
The report's authors say the best strategy for success is through prevention. Children need to maintain a healthy weight as they grow.
"It is far easier and far more effective to prevent overweight and obesity in our youngest than the alternative," Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, said.
Levi says more efforts are needed to make it easier for children and families to be more physically active. He also says families need more access to affordable healthy foods.
Currently, obesity puts about 78 million Americans at increased risk for health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.