The Trust for America’s Health released their annual obesity report. Overall, the national trend toward increasing obesity rates continued it’s march forward. Arizona ranked in the middle of the pack, but the pack itself in increasingly unhealthy. More than two-thirds of states have adult obesity rates above 25 percent. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent.
Most Americans think that being overweight is a simple matter of personal responsibility. While it’s clear that people need to make healthy choices and get more exercise if we’re going to turn this thing around, there are some other factors. Healthy foods cost more than junk food and good food is hard to find in many neighborhoods. But you can be sure that cheap processed foods are available everywhere. Also, finding safe, accessible places to be physically active can be a challenge. While everyone faces barriers to healthy choices, the obstacles are often higher for people with lower incomes and less education.
Those of you that work on public health prevention should become familiar with the key elements in the report, especially the intervention strategies in the second half of the report. By the way… our Empower Pack is an example of the kind of strategy that we need more of to turn this ship around.