F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010

Our friends over at the Trust for America’s Health have just come out with their latest obesity study. Three days ago to be exact. I know some of you don’t like it when I mention obesity and weight, but I wanted to at least let you know what the report said so you can draw your own conclusions.

I live in Tennessee, and we have risen in the ranks from the fourth most overweight state to being tied for second. Not the kind of rating any state wants to see. We are just behind Mississippi and tied with Alabama. The only place in America where obesity declined last year was the District of Columbia. Go you guys who live there! You can check out the study to see where your state ranks.

Among the other findings:

ο  “More than two-thirds of states (38) have adult obesity rates above 25 percent. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent.”

ο  There are differences in the incidence of obesity among socio-economic groups. Those with incomes less than $15,000 a year had an obesity rate of 35.5% whereas those people earning over $50,000 had obesity rates of 24.5%. Neither rate is good – but the disparity is alarming. (My thoughts)

ο   “The survey also found that 84 percent of parents believe their children are at a healthy weight, but research shows nearly one-third of children and teens are obese or overweight.” I found this interesting that parents aren’t aware of where their children are in terms of a healthy weight.

ο  Eight states have obesity rates above 30% – there were four last year. It seems as though obesity awareness isn’t working yet.

ο  The south loses all the way around. Ten out of the eleven highest rates of diabetic adults are in the south.

ο  The northeast and the western states win – kinda. Colorado only had 19.1% of it’s citizens classified as overweight or obese. Only.

ο  Oregon had the lowest incidence of childhood obesity, with under 10% being classified as such.

I found this whole thing a bit depressing. I know here in blog land we are all trying our best to get healthy and pass that message onto our children and family. But it seems that instead of things improving they are getting worse. I don’t have the answers, but thought you all might enjoy seeing the study results.

Is it too late to turn the tide of obesity? Any thoughts on how to fix this?  Diane

33 thoughts on “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010

  1. Susan says:

    I don’t think its too late to turn things around in our country health wise.

    The solution starts in the home with the parents what we teach our kids and the examples we set by what we serve our children to eat and how they see us live do we exercise?

    I didn’t see this study thanks for sharing. Also, we need to teach our kids how to cook healthy, and exercise get out and walk or bike with them and play on the playgrounds with them when there little.
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..I dont Wanna- =-.

  2. gingerR says:

    I just subscribed to a new podcast that had a novel episode about obesity.

    It’s the “Freakonomics” podcast.

    Now obviously being so heavy that you can’t get out the door or you can’t breathe is a problem. But they raise some other interesting questions about this problem. Sorry, no answers.

  3. Alissa says:

    Very interesting post. The difference in the amount of obesity between the income levels is remarkable. Are the people in the lower income group buying more processed foods because they’re cheaper? Are they not being educated as well? Growing up, I don’t feel like I was really even taught about nutrition in school, at least in a way that I would really understand. That was before childhood obesity was really on the forefront though. But I feel like that’s an important aspect of education that I missed out on! But I’m just learning about it myself now.
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..First Day of Vacation =-.

  4. Sara N. says:

    I think the whole thing is fascinating. Sad, but fascinating. We are spending all this money on research and education but nothing is getting done of any consequence. I know in my community kids are bigger and less active then I was growing up. My problem didn’t start until college.

    I appreciate you letting us know about things like this.

  5. Diane says:

    Personally I think that the study is yet another confirmation that the conventional logic with weight loss does not work. There are more low fat options in food, more fitness things( calories in/calories out ) , and weight increases. And we wring our hands, mentally beat ourselves up and the problem gets worse.Time to seriously think outside of the box !
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Polenta chocolate cake GF =-.

  6. MB says:

    It’s never too late until we’re dead but we have a long way to go to get healthy. We need to get people to unplug their electronics now and then and get off their asses and move. We need parents to be the example to their children. We have to stop cleaning our plates that get piled high with 4 or 5 portions. We need to stop eating so much processed, chemically-filled crap. We need to make physical education a priority in schools. We need to make the effort to take care of ourselves. Ultimately, people have to want a healthly life more than they want donuts, cakes, cookies, candy ….

  7. Sharon says:

    When, and ONLY when, each individual accepts PERSONAL responsibility for their own weight/health and decides to do something about it, will the tide begin to turn. We are the folks who put the food in our mouths and now that restaurants, grocery stores, school cafeterias, supersized fast food meals, etc. are giving us what we’ve demanded, we want to blame them and we want them to fix it. Yeah, the tide can turn, but its up to me and you to first change ourselves from within and then be examples/mentors/encouragers to our children, our friends, our neighbors, our communities. It takes a village and we can be that village – one person at a time. (I also live in Tennessee and this was the lead story on our local news a few nights ago. I am not proud.)
    .-= Sharon´s last blog ..A Whole New Month =-.

  8. Pam says:

    Just awful statistics…I wish I had the answers, but right now I am still part of them. I think I will be a bigger advocate of the fight once I stand on the other side of the fence, just to show people that it can be done.
    .-= Pam´s last blog ..When They Doubt- Just Pass Out- =-.

  9. julie says:

    I think much of our country is well aware of the obesity trend, but as you know, knowing is not the same as doing. It’s hard to lose weight and keep it off (you are the exception, not the rule), and our culture is set up to drive everywhere, eat overprocessed low-nutrition, high calorie food. People can buck the trend, but it is a lot of effort and time and swimming against the tide. Here in SF, at least healthy food is available for those who want it, not so much where I was recently traveling in midwest. I don’t know much about Tennessee, but it must be tough to live healthy there, if you ever want to eat out, and I bet most of the kids don’t walk to school. Here neither, it’s just not safe.
    .-= julie´s last blog ..My head is spinning =-.

  10. Babbalou says:

    I’d heard about this report and found it terribly sad but not surprising. I think there are so many reasons why this is happening that I’m not optimistic we’ll be able to turn it around any time soon. Many people eat a significant amount of food that I consider junk (including fast food, deep fried food, highly processed food and sometimes school lunch food). Many people (including children and adults of all ages) don’t exercise at all, or consider a leisurely 15 minute walk adequate exercise for the day. Many people work jobs that make it nearly impossible to step away from their office for a short walk or healthy lunch, and if they work long hours as well, they many not have the physical or psychological energy to exercise or cook a healthy meal when they get home. Some people are unaware of what a portion size looks like, or what a healthy meal really is. And I know some people don’t agree with me, but the focus on a low fat diet results in weight gain for some people, particularly those who may be insulin resistant. I ate a very low fat diet for many years and even with lots of running I put on a little more weight every year until I was borderline obese. It’s only when I went to a produce-based low-carb diet that I started losing the weight. The calories in/calories out calculation simply didn’t hold true for me – 1500 calories a day max, 500 calories of exercise expended in my daily 5 mile run and I was fat and always hungry. The same calories but low carb have resulted in a 30 pound weight loss, and I am not hungry. My triglyceride level is 1/3 of what it was when I was eating low fat. Not everyone is insulin resistent of course, and those of you who can lose weight simply by watching portion sizes and increasing your exercise are very fortunate. But I am sad that many pre-diabetic patients are still given the standard low-fat diet brochure by their physicians. You can google “Gary Taubes Dartmouth” to see his presentation to the doctors at Dartmouth Medical. I did read his book Good Calories Bad Calories, for which he read every single study published on diet (I think it took him 7 years) and the book is interesting, but quite detailed and a long slog to read.

  11. Carla says:

    I think this is so sad, especially the part about the children being overweight. All I know is that people have to take responsibility for their own eating and exercise habits, but I know it’s very hard when there is just so much junk around everywhere. I also noticed that all my kids friends that are overweight drink soda. I really don’t think there is any reason why a child should EVER drink soda. There is something about it that is addictive and makes people gain weight!

  12. Marcelle says:

    This makes me feel very sad that so many people are not getting the most out of their lives and are living day to day with this struggle.

    Have no idea what we can do honestly…so many people have tried without success.

  13. Jules - Big Girl Bombshell says:

    It’s never too late. And this might sound a little odd, but if they invested money in bringing back creative arts and sport oriented activities to school programs,(Not just after school or extra curricular that parents pay for) I believe it would change. Taking all of that out of schools has had more of an impact than the school food….In my opinion…. Emotional eating contributes SO MUCH to obesity that when there is no outlet for those emotions, the food take over more. Just my off handed thinking and opinion!
    .-= Jules – Big Girl Bombshell´s last blog ..Declare Your Independence =-.

  14. Hope @ Hope's Journey says:

    Here’s what I think: I’m a HUGE believer in personal responsibility, that said, I think it’s up to parents to set a good example for their children, and the only way that people can change is if they do it themselves. So, I don’t know if it’s too late or not, but if people want to live that way, it’s their choice, I guess. :/ Yeah, that’s all I got.

  15. Melinda Neely says:

    This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. We have to believe there is hope to fight obesity. And though your stats are depressing, most of the ones I have found suggest the obesity rates are at least starting to level off.

    My biggest concern is low socioeconomic families. It often costs more to eat healthier, and this is a tough argument for folks with a very limited budget. Why not buy the $1 meal at McDonald’s when it’s cheaper/easier?

    I didn’t know you live in Tennessee (where?), as this is where I grew up. I now live in the Northwest and can see how eating/exercising habits are so vastly different. That said, obesity rates are still high in Idaho, too.
    .-= Melinda Neely´s last blog ..Easy Summer Dinners- Grilled- Stuff Trout =-.

  16. Stacy says:

    Can I tell you that the first place my kids had soda was for a daycare party?? Those of us that are trying to be role models for our children are swimming against the current here.

    We don’t drink soda and in our house the options are water or skim milk. I’m pretty sure buying a bunch of soda is more expensive than that! My kids usually hit the growth charts at around 50% for weight and 70-90% for height, so they are fairly healthy little buggers. My parents think I am too strict with my kids, though. >>me rolling my eyes<<

    I think one of the big problems with obesity is that people just don't know how to cook healthy meals…or really cook AT ALL. It is easier to make a quick processed meal with preservatives and other crap than to make something from scratch.

    Right now I think we are fighting an uphill battle. Our society has really changed from an active one to a society of people attached to their electronics. Getting people to disengage and be active is going to be difficult.

  17. Julia says:

    Sad stat’s for this country – nothing to be proud of 🙁
    Unfortunately everyone is waiting for the government to fix the problem with a magic pill instead of taking personal responsibility for the choices they have made.
    One of my favorite TV shows is ‘you are what you eat’ on BBC and I have noticed my kids attitude to healthy foods change from watching this show.

    Have a great 4th July weekend 🙂
    .-= Julia´s last blog ..Dang- =-.

  18. Hanlie says:

    I don’t know what our figures are here, but they’re bound to be huge as well. Everywhere I go I see overweight adults and downright obese kids. The kids definitely have it worse…

    I think it’s a grassroots thing. You and I and many like us know better and we educate our children. Yes, in the process many (too many!) will fall through the cracks, but you can’t legislate diet and fitness and the manufacturers of the very foods that are the root cause of obesity are too powerful to defeat. It will be down to education, not legislation, in the end.
    .-= Hanlie´s last blog ..Let’s Do the Shuffle =-.

  19. Christine says:

    While I think that education and self-responsibility are crucial to turning the tide against obesity….I think that there needs to be a major reform of how the government allows food companies to operate. More money needs to be spent on local farming, local produce, even if that means tax incentives for farmers. Government needs to cut down on the amount of preservatives and shit like high-fructose corn syrup that’s allowed in food. Government needs to reform lobbying so that manufacturers can’t bribe our officials into passing bills that are bad for us just so they can make a buck. More needs to be done to promote healthy foods in our K-12 schools (as opposed to processed/frozen crap.) The USDA needs to revamp their nutritional requirements so they reflect real biology and data, NOT what reflects what lobbyists want. (Example: There’s no way that the human body needs as much bread/carbs as what the USDA says we do. And the USDA are FINALLY lowering those levels…slowly. Too slowly.)

    SO personal responsibility and education: YES. But government reform is needed as well.
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..Still freaking 142 83 pounds lost- Week updates =-.

  20. Taryl says:

    I am completely unsurprised. Sadly, a lot of things in our system are set up in such a way that personal responsibility is out of the equation for behavior, weight included. It is school lunches and McDonalds that we blame for our fatness, or sugar, not our CHOICE to put it in our mouths or feed it to our kids. Some of the income disparity is a lack of education about nutrition, but a whole heck of a lot more of it seems to be an apathy to healthy eating and making it a priority. The poor in our country are far from it, on a world scale, and very well nourished as a whole in terms of food availability. But the choices many are making are poor, and that is less of a function of ignorance than I think most would credit. A lot of people just don’t care.

    As for changing this, the only behavior we can change is our own and how we feed our families. There is plenty of information and healthy choices out there, we can’t make others eat it, but we can choose to teach our children how to feed themselves and move in a way that promotes health. In a few generations, with enough parents being proactive with their childrens’ health, we should see a change.
    .-= Taryl´s last blog ..Exercise uodate =-.

  21. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    I saw this report & very depressing! It starts with prevention & we are not doing that in this country! I hate to say this as I know some disagree but that goes for healthcare too… it does not allow for prevention due to cost so by the time people go in, it costs 10 times more.

    I wish there were easy answers but there are not. Yes, the concept of eating less and/or better & moving more is easy but implementing it into their lives.. people don’t do it.

    Is it the life stress right now, money/job woes, that are pushing us over the edge.. I don’t know….
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Recipes for July 4th- =-.

  22. Alan says:

    We can change it. I’ll bet your high school had a smoker’s lounge for the teachers and for the students. If we can change the culture of something as addicting as smoking, we can for food. It’s got to start with rolling back processed foods, IMHO.

    And as for personal responsibility, show me a restaurant where the majority of food is truly healthy, and I will definitely eat there. Are there any?
    .-= Alan´s last blog ..Project America Run =-.

  23. AmandaLP says:

    What I wonder about is why activity is not mentioned? Sure, 84% of parents may think that their kid is at a “healthy weight,” but what would that number be if we asked about their children’s activity level or junk food consumption?

    “Obesity Awareness” is everywhere. However, simply being “aware” of the problem, and continuing to villify those who are fat, is NOT The Answer. As long as we continue to make fat people the enemy, we will never win. If we can stress that activity and fresh produce are the ways to better health, then we may see some change.
    .-= AmandaLP´s last blog ..No Sweets Recap – LHAS =-.

  24. ohlookaduck says:

    What a great discussion! I saw two pictures of a family reunion–one was in the ’70’s and nobody looked overweight. The next was the same group 25 years later and it was shocking how much weight everyone had gained, including most of the current children.

    I was wondering why I didn’t gain weight when I was growing up and when I thought about it, we had no snack foods or sodas like are available today, plus we were never allowed to have the television on during the day so we were always out being active.

    I’m trying to copy that for my family and 5 out of my six children are at a great weight, but I can see how some gravitate towards extra snacks and leisure and when they stop growing that may become a problem for them.

    But what I had available to me was set in stone–things simply weren’t available to trip me up. Now it is all different and very much more difficult. I am interested to see what others bring to this discussion.

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