All states are not equal, when it comes to obesity. It’s well-known that the problem is much worse in southern states, and not quite as bad in the Rocky Mountain states and on the West Coast. A new study is the first to allow comparisons of childhood obesity trends among the 50 states. Here’s the condensed story from the Associated Press, although I added the third paragraph and the Washington state numbers:
CHICAGO – A new government study finds that most states are failing to meet federal goals for childhood obesity.
The federal Healthy People initiative set a childhood obesity goal of 5%. Oregon has the nation’s lowest rate of hefty kids, at just under 10%. Oregon was the only state whose childhood obesity fell significantly from 2003 to 2007. Washington’s obesity rate went up slightly, to about 11% – tied for third lowest among the states. Mississippi topped the nation with more than one-in-five of its kids obese.
By another measure – how many kids are simply overweight — Washington’s near the national average, with about 30% of kids overweight. (Oregon places 3rd in this category, with Minnesota and Utah having the lowest percentage of overweight youth, at 23%.)
What works? That’s still debated. Diet and nutrition have a role. But poverty, race and family history all have complex links to obesity.
The study appears in May’s Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Prevent Childhood Obesity initiative
- National Physical Activity Plan (a government and industry collaboration)