Americans 24 Pounds Fatter Than in 1960

Americans have a problem with obesity. 

For any American who has traveled internationally, this problem is common knowledge. Both inside and outside our country, Americans are stereotyped as obese and overweight. And there’s certainly truth to the stereotype, according to a new report on obesity from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Foundation. Differences among race, ethnicity, gender, age, economic status and state tell a more complex story though.

Differences Remain Among Racial and Ethnic Groups

There are still great disparities with race, education and income in obesity rates for children and adults. Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be obese than whites. 

A graphic showing obesity rates among adults by race and ethic group.

Courtesy Robert Wood Foundation

A graphic showing obesity rates among children by race and ethic group.

Courtesy Robert Wood Foundation

Poorer and less educated Americans also experience higher obesity rates. For women, obesity rates increase as income and education level decreases. Men didn’t see a strong change across income or education levels.

A graphic showing obesity rates by education level.

Courtesy Robert Wood Foundation

Rates Are High, but Stabilized

Obesity rates seem to be stabilizing. While it’s good that rates are no longer increasing, they remain high. Between 2011 to 2012, two-thirds of adults were found to be overweight or obese.

After doubling during the last 35 years, rates for adults remained the same from 2009 to 2012. The increase means the average American is 24 pounds heavier now than in 1960. 

Rates for children tripled since 1980 but have remained constant at around 16.9 percent obesity for the last decade.

Access to Healthy Foods Depends on Who You Are and Where You Live

Not all Americans have easy access to a grocery store with healthy foods. Only 8 percent of blacks live in a census tract with a supermarket, compared with 31 percent of whites. A whopping 23.5 million of Americans don’t live within a mile of a supermarket. This is important because research has shown blacks with a supermarket in their neighborhood consume 32 percent more fruits and vegetables. 

The foundation recommends funding new grants for minorities to open grocery stores in low-income communities. 

A graphic showing grocery stores in different communities.

Courtesy Robert Wood Foundation

The report also called out advertisements for unhealthy foods and recommended decreasing advertisements, which are often unequal across races. Black children see twice as many calories advertised in fast food commercials as white children. 

The South Loses

The 10 states with the highest obesity rates are all in the South or Midwest. Mississippi and West Virginia had the highest obesity rate, 35.1 percent. Mississippi also had the highest percentage of adults in the U.S. who say they don’t eat at least one serving of fruit per day. 

By contrast, the Northeast and the West had the lowest obesity rates. Colorado had the lowest obesity rate at 21.3 percent and the lowest rate of physical inactivity at 17.9 percent. 

A graphic showing rates for obesity by state.

Courtesy Robert Wood Foundation

All ten states with the highest rates of type 2 diabetes were in the South. 

The CDC estimates that one of every three adults will have diabetes by 2050 if current rates continue.

A graphic showing rates for diabetes by state.

Courtesy Robert Wood Foundation

Every state in the top 10 for hypertension rates is also in the South. Sensing a theme?

A graphic showing rates for hypertension by state.

Courtesy Robert Wood Foundation

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button