New York's adult obesity rate nearly tripled since 1990, but tips to help are cited

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New statistics show that the obesity rate has officially topped 35% in 7 states. Buzz60's Natasha Abellard has the story. Buzz60

The State of Obesity 2018 report showed that no state showed significant statistical improvement in their obesity rates from a year earlier. But Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties scored high.

One in four adult New Yorkers is now classified as obese as factors such as race, poverty and government policies fueled a dire public-health crisis that has exploded across the country since 1990.

Strikingly, New York's 25 percent obesity rate has nearly tripled since 1990 and yet it's still the seventh lowest in America. Across the country, some states have topped 35 percent, costing billions of dollars in preventable health care spending and lost productivity.

According to The State of Obesity 2018 report, no state showed significant statistical improvement in their obesity rates from a year earlier, according to USA TODAY. Only two states – Hawaii and Colorado – and the District of Columbia had obesity rates below 25 percent.

New York's adult obesity rate is up from about 17 percent in 2000 and from 9 percent in 1990.

MOST OBESE STATES:Here are the 10 highest, lowest obesity rates

READ: The State of Obesity 2018 report

RANKS: Rockland, Westchester and Putnam among healthiest in New York

NATIONAL: See the obesity rates, concerns across the country

Seven states across the South and Mid-West had adult obesity rates above 35 percent. West Virginia held the highest rate at just over 38 percent.

The report released by nonprofit organizations Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation also found 22 states had obesity rates between 30 and 35 percent, while an additional 19 states had rates between 25 and 30 percent.

More about New York

Not all the obesity news is bad as New York has seen some gains in reducing key childhood obesity rates.

For example, obesity rates declined among 2- to 4-year-olds enrolled in nutritional programs for Women, Infants and Children from 2010 to 2014. The rate of obesity dropped to 14.3 percent from 16.1 percent, the report shows.

Further, New York City reported a 5.5 percent decline in obesity among students in grades K-8 from 2006-07 to 2010-11.

Still, the rising obesity rates among adults stands in stark contrast to promising signs some communities, including Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, are improving their collective health and well-being.

Rockland, for example, recently took the top spot as healthiest out of 62 counties statewide, followed by Westchester at No. 3, and Putnam at No. 5, based on a variety of key health and social issues, The Journal News/lohud reported.

All three Lower Hudson Valley counties scored high in terms of eating healthy, exercising and not smoking overall, but struggled with issues such as poverty and housing problems that are key factors in obesity.

Westchester, Rockland and Putnam obesity rates stood at 21 percent, 24 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

Dutchess County ranked No. 14 and had an obesity rate of 24 percent, while Ulster County was No. 28, with a 26 percent obesity rate.

When is someone obese

Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, says. 

For example, a person who is 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 203 pounds or more is obese, the CDC says. There are also more severe classifications of obesity based on higher weights.

Body Mass Index, or BMI, is used as a screening tool for overweight or obesity. The public can use the BMI calculator to determine if someone is obese under CDC guidelines.

How to fight obesity

The new obesity report included 40 recommendations for policymakers, including backing and expanding programs to address obesity and offering more options for healthy food to low-income households where access to better nutrition is limited

The reports overview of tips included:

  • Promote policies and scale programs that foster collaborations. For example, bringing together health departments, schools, transportation departments, local businesses to achieve results.
  • Adopt and implement policies that help make healthy choices easy. Federal, state, and local governments can create conditions in schools, communities, and workplaces that make healthy eating and active living accessible, affordable, and convenient.
  • Invest in programs that level the playing field for all individuals and families. While obesity affects all populations, social and economic factors drive up rates. Design initiatives informed by community input to address these challenges.

Meanwhile, several studies have shown obesity has been linked to multiple diseases, from hypertension and diabetes to cancer, USA TODAY reported.

In May, a report from the World Cancer Research Fund linked 12 types of cancers, including breast and colorectal, to being overweight.

It takes a financial toll, too. The report says obesity costs an estimated $149 billion annually in directly related health care spending and an additional $66 billion a year in lowered economic productivity.

The study also showed obesity levels were highest among the black and Latino communities, and low-income and rural communities, because they lack healthier food choices. 

 

 

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