Obesity Rates in America Continue to Rise

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Americans keep getting fatter and fatter. According to a a report released by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 16 states saw a rise in obesity rates and 12 states are now plagued with an obesity rate of at least 30%.

"These numbers signal an emergency, and we simply have to have the courage and resolve to do more than what we're doing,” Kelly D. Brownell, director of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity told The Los Angeles Times. Brownell is not associated with the recent report.

The fattest states in the nation are mostly found in the South, where poor, rural populations, and fried foods, are common. Mississippi is the country’s most bloated state with 34.4% of its population categorized as obese. Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Louisiana round out the top five fattest states, while Colorado is the slimmest, though even its obesity rate is a less than impressive 19.8%.
The health agencies also examined obesity rates spanning two records, finding that America’s rates have jumped tremendously. Fifteen years ago, Mississippi, which was the fattest state even back then, had an obesity rate of 19.4% which is lower than the slimmest state today. Twenty years ago, no state had an adult obesity rate above 15%.

So how can Americans slim down? The report recommends a variety of measures, including more physical activity in schools, a greater emphasis on the importance of diet exercise among adults, and increased government regulation on how food is marketed and priced in the United States, among other things.

"Government could start by changing agricultural subsidies, by not making it financially attractive for companies to market unhealthy foods, by placing serious restrictions on marketing to children, and with financial policies that make healthy foods cost less and unhealthy foods cost more,” Brownell said.

What do you think of the latest findings? Should the government get more involved or should Americans take more responsibility for their unhealthy choices?

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