Posts tagged obesity rates
Latinos’ obesity and diabetes rates continue to be alarming, experts say.
But the news isn’t all bad: Latinos’ rates of premature death, death due to cancers, cardiovascular deaths and infant mortality all improved, according to an NBC Latino report on the new America’s Health Rankings.
The rankings, which comes from the United Health Foundation and the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention, looks at 24 measures of health, including tobacco and alcohol abuse, exercise, infectious diseases, crime rates, premature birth rates and cancer and heart disease rates. The report ranks the states based on those indicators.
Vermont tops the list of healthiest states for the fourth-straight year. Vermont’s strengths include its number one position for all health determinants combined, which includes ranking in the top 10 states for a high rate of high school graduation, a low violent crime rate, a low incidence of infectious disease, etc.
Hawaii is ranked as second-healthiest, followed by New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Minnesota.
Texas ranks 40th.
Mississippi and Louisiana tie for 49th as the least healthy states. Mississippi ranks in the bottom 5 states on 12 of the 24 measures including a high prevalence of obesity, a high prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle, a low high school graduation rate, limited availability of primary care physicians, a high prevalence of low birthweight infants, and a high prevalence of diabetes.
On a positive note, New Jersey (18% Latino) and Colorado (21% Latino) were two of the states that saw great improvement in health ranking measures, with New Jersey improving on nine different measures and Colorado improving across five different categories, according to the NBC Latino report.
See how your state ranks here.
America’s obesity epidemic is so deeply rooted that it will take dramatic and systemic measures—from overhauling farm policies and zoning laws to, possibly, introducing a soda tax—to fix it, according to a new report released May 8, 2012, by the influential Institute of Medicine (IOM), Reuters reports.
The 478-page report, according to Reuters, refutes the idea that obesity is largely the result of a lack of willpower on the part of individuals:
Instead, it embraces policy proposals that have met with stiff resistance from the food industry and lawmakers, arguing that multiple strategies will be needed to make the U.S. environment less “obesogenic.”
The IOM, part of the National Academies, offers advice to the government and others on health issues. Its report was released at the Weight of the Nation conference, a three-day meeting hosted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cable channel HBO will air a documentary of the same name next week.
“People have heard the advice to eat less and move more for years, and during that time a large number of Americans have become obese,” committee member Shiriki Kumanyika of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine told Reuters. “That advice will never be out of date. But when you see the increase in obesity you ask, what changed? And the answer is, the environment. The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment.”
Earlier this week, a CDC-funded study projected that by 2030, 42% of American adults will be obese, compared to 34% today.
The staggering human toll of obesity-related chronic disease and disability, and an annual cost of $190.2 billion for treating obesity-related illness, underscore the need to strengthen prevention efforts.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation asked the IOM to identify catalysts that could speed progress in obesity prevention. The IOM evaluated prior obesity prevention strategies and identified recommendations to meet the following goals and accelerate progress:
- Integrate physical activity every day in every way
- Make healthy foods available everywhere
- Marketing what matters for a healthy life
- Activating employers and health care professionals
- Strengthening schools as the heart of health
Forty years ago, nearly half of all students walked or biked to school. Now, only 14 percent do.
Why the change?
One major factor is school siting, the decisions school leaders make about where to build or rehabilitate schools. Over the past several decades, schools have increasingly been built on the outskirts of communities, too far from children’s homes for walking or biking to be practical. Meanwhile, obesity rates in children and adolescents have more than tripled, and a third of children are overweight or obese.
Locating schools closer to where families live can make it easier for kids to walk and bike to school—and more convenient for families to use school fields and other facilities after hours, when school is closed. When it comes to ethnicity and socioeconomic status, however, few neighborhoods are well integrated, which means students in neighborhood-based schools can be highly segregated, too.
But there are lots of ways to support both walkable and diverse schools. To help districts nationwide make school siting decisions that support their students’ health and educational success, Changelab Solutions has released a set of model school siting policies and other materials.