Subjects: Behavioral health
Recently, the CDC reported that between 2007 and 2009, the number of states with at least a 30% prevalence of obesity tripled from three to nine. As recently as 2000, no state reported having as many as 30% of its population that were obese.
Overall, 72 million American adults, representing 26.7% of the adult population, are obese. That’s up 1% since 2007, according to the CDC, which also calculated the annual medical costs of obesity to be nearly $147 billion.
The CDC report is based on data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which contains self-reported data that is used by the states to assess progress toward the goals of Healthy People 2010. In the BRFSS 400,000 phone survey respondents are queried each year about their height and weight. From these data, scientists calculate body mass index. An adult with a BMI > 30 is considered to be obese.
BRFSS data are known to underestimate obesity prevalence, since respondents tend to claim they are taller than they actually are, and since women tend to claim they weigh less than they really do.
“We need intensive, comprehensive and ongoing efforts to address obesity,” CDC director Thomas Frieden told BurrillReport. “If we don’t, more people will get sick and die from obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of death.”
The new data reveals that the highest prevalence of obesity, 36.8%, is present among non-Hispanic blacks. In non-Hispanic black women, the rate is 41.9%. The data also show that obesity is more prevalent in the South and Midwest than in other regions of the country.
Colorado is the only state that had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%.