CDC Report: Obesity Rates Keep Rising

The CDC issued a report on the prevalence of obesity yesterday and the results are not good.  In fact, they are downright scary, sad, troubling, depressing, overwhelming…whatever word best describes it for you.  Sad is the word that comes to my mind.  Here are some of the eye-opening, mouth-dropping statistics…

Source: Centers for Disease Control and The New York Times

Despite more than a decade’s worth of daily media reports, government regulations and nutrition education efforts to combat obesity, the most recent report by CDC on obesity prevalence shows that rates are not only still on the rise, but they are rising faster than ever before.  Some of the meaningful statistics include:

  • obesity rates surpassed 30% in nine states last year, compared to just three states in 2007
  • the nine states include Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia
  • Mississippi has the highest rate at 34.4%
  • the total number of obese, not just overweight, Americans is now 72.5 million, or 26.7% of the population (and this is likely an underestimate)
  • Colorado and Washington DC were the only areas to come in under a 20% obesity rate


The report includes “Key Points for the Public,” so I am doing my duty to share them with you:

  • Obesity is common, serious, and costly. Approximately 72.5 million U.S. adults are obese. Obesity is a factor contributing to several leading causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer
  • Recent estimates of the annual medical costs of obesity are as high as $147 billion. On average, persons who are obese have medical costs that are $1,429 more than persons of normal weight
  • States vary widely in the percentage of their adults who are obese. In 2009, at least 30% of adults were obese in nine states, compared with no states in 2000
  • Past efforts and investments to prevent and control obesity have not been adequate
  • The federal government is intensifying efforts to address the problem through new initiatives such as the Let’s Move! campaign, the Communities Putting Prevention to Work program, and the Patient Protection and Affordability Act
  • Additional information is available at

The bottom line is we can no longer sit around waiting for everyone else to do something about the obesity epidemic that is ravaging our nation’s health and pocketbook.  Each and everyone one of us must take individual action and responsibility and it all starts in the home, where most habits are learned and fostered.  Below are some tips to live by.  They are not revolutionary, but they DO work:

  • Eat as many meals at home as a family as possible.  This includes breakfast
  • Focus on FRESH fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean dairy and meats.  Avoid processed, packaged foods as much as possible
  • Exercise as a family and make it fun, so that moving the body is valued and will be repeated
  • Prepare healthy snacks ahead of time and take them with you, so you don’t have to rely on unhealthy choices from a vending machine or market
  • Eat at least one  fruit or vegetable serving with each and every meal or snack
  • When eating out at restaurants, share appetizers and desserts and eat half of the entree and bring it home with you.  Or, eat two appetizers instead of an appetizer and an entree.  You will be just as satisfied
  • Figure out ways to get extra exercise into your day–park at the end of the parking lot, take the stairs, sit on a yoga ball instead of a chair, walk down the hall to your colleague’s office rather than calling or emailing, take a walk after dinner instead of turning on the television right away (particulary in warm weather months), get up from your desk and take a stroll around the office at least once between arriving at work and going to lunch and another time between coming back from lunch and leaving for the day

REMEMBER, contrary to popular belief, research shows that children/teens mimic their parents’ behaviors more than their peers’.  Be a role model for the above behaviors and your children will follow suit.  We’ve got to break this viscious cycle.


3 responses to “CDC Report: Obesity Rates Keep Rising

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