A study released this week by the Trust for America's Health noted that by 2030, more than half of Pennsylvania’s residents will be considered obese. The study says a shocking 56.7 percent will be labeled obese within the next 20 years.
The study, called “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012," showed that as of 2011, Pennsylvania ranks 20th in the nation for most obese residents. The report estimated that 28.6 percent of Pennsylvanians are currently considered obese.
"We know a lot more about how to prevent obesity than we did 10 years ago," said Dr. Jeff Levi, executive director of TFAH. "This report also outlines how policies like increasing physical activity time in schools and making fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable can help make healthier choices easier. Small changes can add up to a big difference. Policy changes can help make healthier choices easier for Americans in their daily lives."
Mississippi's current adult obesity rate of 34.9 percent is the highest in the country, according to the study. The study took a look at the finanical toll that obesity and its related illness can take on a state's budget.
The report contends that states could prevent obesity-related diseases and dramatically reduce health care costs if they reduced the average body mass index of their residents by just 5 percent by 2030.
Recommendations to both state and local municipal governments included:
- Fully implement the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, by implementing the school meal standards and updating nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages in schools
- Protect the Prevention and Public Health Fund
- Increase investments in effective, evidence-based obesity-prevention programs
- Fully implement the National Prevention Strategy and Action Plan;
- Make physical education and physical activity a priority in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act;
- Finalize the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children Guidelines;
- Fully support healthy nutrition in federal food programs; and
- Encourage full use of preventive health care services and provide support beyond the doctor's office.
To read the full report, visit the Trust for America's Health's website.