Just how fat are we as a country?
Well a recent report on obesity rates in America gave us an F. In fact, they even titled their report F as in Fat 2009, by the Trust for America’s Health. The reason being that they found that 2/3 of all adult Americans are overweight or obese. Where the “adult obesity rates now exceed 25 percent in 31 states and exceed 20 percent in 49 states and Washington, D.C.”
Only Colorado is exempt, but they have an obesity rate of 18.9 percent, not something to brag about. Especially considering that in “1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. In 1980, the national average for adult obesity was 15 percent.” We are now at more than 33 percent nationwide, it goes on to state.
1 out of 3 of us are obese.
2 out of 3 of us are overweight/obese.
I’m a little scared to pass along the facts about our children…
Utah and Minnesota had the lowest rate of obesity for their children at 23.1 percent. Our children are fatter than we are. In some states the obesity rate is at rates of 35-45 percent.
If we look at this report (pdf) from the Center for Disease Control. It shows individual charts from 1985 to 2008. Each one lists all the states and their average level of obesity, based on BMI levels (body mass index; 30 or higher equals obese). I just flipped through the pages and watch the obesity trend like a comic flip book. In the beginning all of the states show no data or very low BMI’s. Then as the years progress all the states are in the fat quadrant.
They even had to add extra columns on the right to describe the higher levels of BMI.
What does this all cost us?
Cost is an interesting word. These obesity trends are having drastic impacts on the environment, our economy, and our family lives. But, here I just want to focus on dollars in health care since I have another report to share.
This report from a journal, Health Affairs, discusses the changes in health care spending from 1987 to 2001.
The results show two things. Obese folks end up spending more on health care each year. It also hints that they cost the rest of us more money as well.
“Health care spending among the obese was 37 percent higher.”
The rate of obesity in America is increasing to and so are the costs. Being in this category means that we spend more on health care, that spending is increasing (compared to those not obese), and more of us are becoming obese.
This is normally due to the increased health risks that come along with this epidemic. They include risks of developing “diabetes, gallstones, hypertension, heart disease, hyperlipidemia, stroke, and some forms of cancer.”
Don’t think we’re safe though if we are just overweight since “the risk of death is higher among moderately and severely overweight men and women, regardless of age.” (bold added by me).
Finally, the report hints that 27% of all increases in healthcare spending are due to obesity. Since obesity is linked to so many diseases, each of which are on the rise, it is possible that we are all facing higher costs. This may just get worse too if our government move towards a more collective (socialist) form of healthcare.
Don’t Get Mad
I am not here to offend anyone. I am not here to place blame. But I cannot step around our obesity problem. In order to address it we have to face the issue.
In writing this piece I made sure to use we instead of you. This is not an individual problem or issue. It is a community issue. Together we must face it and together we can solve it.
I also understand how hard this is for us. I was once 60 pounds heavier than I am now. I understand how deep this feels.
Thanks for reading and I welcome any comments.