Most Obese States Revealed. Where Does Your State Fall and How Can You Be Proactive?Nutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
We’ve got a big fat problem. America’s obesity rates are still on the rise. And if the number you see when you step on your scale at home scares you, check out these recent findings from the State of Obesity 2018 Report:
- 7 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia) have adult obesity rates above 35 percent. West Virginia has the highest rate of obesity - just above 38 percent!
- Not one state in the entire country has shown improvement in obesity rates over the past year.
- Only Hawaii, Colorado and District of Columbia have obesity rates below 25 percent. California is at 25.1%.
- 22 states have obesity rates between 30 and 35 percent. And 19 states have rates between 25 and 30 percent!
Chronic obesity is life-threatening, contributing to a myriad of health problems including cancer, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and more. Not to mention, we are setting up our children for an unhealthy future if we do not get this problem under control. When we are overweight or obese, our children are more likely to be overweight or obese.
(In the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)).
“Obesity in childhood are known to have significant impact on both physical and psychological health. Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop non-communicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age,” according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
To give you even more perspective on how bad the obesity epidemic is, not just in the U.S. but all over the world, one recent report says that obesity kills more people worldwide than car crashes, terror attacks and Alzheimer’s combined.
Obesity Is Largely a Social & Economic Problem.
“While obesity affects all populations, some have significantly higher levels than others — often due to social and economic factors largely beyond their control, such as racism, poverty, and lack of access to healthcare,” according to the State of Obesity 2018 Report.
You may recall that we recently discussed the fact that Americans are collectively sicker than ever before and how food deserts play a role in this. A ‘food desert’ is a term used to describe communities that don’t have direct access to affordable healthy food.
More often than not, these communities are predominantly Latino and African-American. According to the obesity report, Black and Latino children and adults continue to have higher obesity rates than Whites and Asians.
The State of Obesity Report further states that “federal, state, and local governments can create conditions in schools, communities, and workplaces that make healthy eating and active living accessible, affordable, and convenient.”
(Click here to see how you can help expand healthy food access to all).
So How Can We Be Proactive?
We can’t afford to waste anymore time. Obesity in America is on the rise, and we have to make a collective effort to stop it before this disease claims more lives. The solution begins with making the right lifestyle choices and implementing these healthy habits in your household.
We may sound like a broken record, but obviously certain key messages need to be reiterated:
- Eat Right.
“It has been estimated that 30–40 percent of all cancers can be prevented by lifestyle and dietary measures alone. Obesity, nutrient sparse foods such as concentrated sugars and refined flour products that contribute to impaired glucose metabolism (which leads to diabetes), low fiber intake, consumption of red meat, and imbalance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats all contribute to excess cancer risk,“ reports the NIH.
As mentioned, there is a correlation between obesity and cancer as well as obesity and many other types of disease. Eating a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods will help with weight management and, in turn, help prevent life-threatening illnesses. And if you need to jumpstart your weight loss, talk to your doctor or a competent healthcare professional about implementing vegan eating in your diet.
- Get Moving.
Along with eating healthily, exercise is key in fighting obesity. And because many of us work long hours sitting at a desk, we have to be especially proactive about moving every day whether it’s taking a break to go for a walk or using the stairs instead of the elevator. To find out how much you should be exercising, click here. If you are morbidly obese, have heart problems or any other existing medical conditions, talk to your doctor about what exercises are personally best for you. And don’t forget, fueling your body properly is key in exercise performance and recovery.
- Stay Balanced, Nutritionally.
Americans may be overfed, but many are also undernourished due to all of the readily available and addictive, nutrient-void processed foods. In order to maintain a healthy weight and stay overall healthy, our bodies need proper levels of essential vitamins and minerals. So along with eating healthily, it is important to get a comprehensive nutrient test to ensure we are getting adequate amounts of certain nutrients from the foods we eat. If too much or too little of a certain nutrient is assessed, a doctor or competent healthcare professional can help with tweaking your diet and/or recommend quality supplements. And also know certain specific nutrients may help aid you in your weight loss goals. For example, one of these nutrients is water!
- Get Your Mind Right.
As a society, we probably focus primarily on the cosmetic benefits of weight loss - lose weight, look good. We should probably focus more on the health benefits of losing weight in order to live a longer and healthier life, to play more with your kids and travel to all the places in the world we want to see.
There are also mental benefits. It’s hard to know which develops first - weight problems or depression. But if you suffer from depression, your chances of being overweight or obese may be higher. Data from the CDC shows that adults with depression were more likely to be obese than adults without depression. Eat plenty of raw fruits and veggies to help combat depression, and keep in mind these eight minerals that may help with coping with depression.
- Toss the Cigarettes!
You don’t need me to list the reasons why smoking cigarettes is bad for your health. And credible evidence also shows that obesity has been linked to increased risk of taking up smoking and smoking frequency. In addition to this, cigarette smoking reduces muscles in the body. And having muscle in your body helps fight fat.
Let’s hold ourselves accountable and make changes where necessary. Aim to make America’s next State of Obesity Report a better one.
Let’s enjoy our healthiest lives!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.