Annual F As In Fat Report Released

July 8th, 2011 No comments »

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has released its annual “F as in Fat” report on obesity. According to its press release, “The obesity epidemic continues to be most dramatic in the South, which includes nine of the 10 states with the highest adult obesity rates. States in the Northeast and West tend to have lower rates. Mississippi maintained the highest adult obesity rate for the seventh year in a row, and Colorado has the lowest obesity rate and is the only state with a rate under 20 percent. This year, for the first time, the report examined how the obesity epidemic has grown over the past two decades. Twenty years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 15 percent. Today, more than two out of three states, 38 total, have obesity rates over 25 percent, and just one has a rate lower than 20 percent. Since 1995, when data was available for every state, obesity rates have doubled in seven states and increased by at least 90 percent in 10 others. Obesity rates have grown fastest in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Tennessee, and slowest in Washington, D.C., Colorado, and Connecticut. “Today, the state with the lowest obesity rate would have had the highest rate in 1995,” said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH. “There was a clear tipping point in our national weight gain over the last twenty years, and we can’t afford to ignore the impact obesity has on our health and corresponding health care spending.” Obesity has long been associated with other severe health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure. New data in the report show how rates of both also have risen dramatically over the last two decades. Since 1995, diabetes rates have doubled in eight states. Then, only four states had diabetes rates above 6 percent. Now, 43 states have diabetes rates over 7 percent, and 32 have rates above 8 percent. Twenty years ago, 37 states had hypertension rates over 20 percent. Now, every state is over 20 percent, with nine over 30 percent.

Racial and ethnic minority adults, and those with less education or who make less money, continue to have the highest overall obesity rates:

Adult obesity rates for Blacks topped 40 percent in 15 states, 35 percent in 35 states, and 30 percent in 42 states and D.C.

 Rates of adult obesity among Latinos were above 35 percent in four states (Mississippi, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Texas) and at least 30 percent in 23 states.

Meanwhile, rates of adult obesity for Whites topped 30 percent in just four states (Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia) and no state had a rate higher than 32.1 percent.

Nearly 33 percent of adults who did not graduate high school are obese, compared with 21.5 percent of those who graduated from college or technical college.

More than 33 percent of adults who earn less than $15,000 per year were obese, compared with 24.6 percent of those who earn at least $50,000 per year.

The full report is available at RWJF, Trust for America’s Health Release F as in Fat 2011 – RWJF.

Lobbies Undercut Local Anti-Obesity Efforts

July 1st, 2011 No comments »

States push back against localities ‘ anti-obesity measures. The New York Times reports on successful efforts of restaurant lobbies to undercut local anti-obesity measures at the state level. Local Laws Fighting Fat Under Siege –

Another Mean Season-Pt.2: Arizona

June 1st, 2011 No comments »

Arizona has proposed imposing a $50 a year tax on smokers and obese childless adults because of their status as smokers or obese adults, evidently to close a budget gap. Whether $50 will close the gap or not is not clear. Nor is it clear at all, that the status tax will affect behavior. What is clear is that the New York Times interviewer, Timothy Williams, was not interested enough to ask the spokesperson for the Arizona plan, Monica Coury,  what was the basis for their belief that $50 would change behavior.  Under an Arizona Plan, Smokers and the Obese Would Pay Medicaid Fee –  This is journalism? Really?

Intensive Counseling, State Data and Incentives- What’s new

September 29th, 2010 No comments »

September 29, 2010

Look AHEAD, an NIH funded long term study of life style intervention on weight and cardiovascular risk factors has released its 4 year findings. One arm of the study received intensive lifestyle counseling; the other arm received usual dietary counseling. Averaged across the four years, body weight was reduced in the intensive group by 6.5% compared to 0 .88%, along with improvements in fitness, hemoglobin A1c, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Some of the gains decreased over time as one would expect but were still significantly better at the four year follow-up. See, Arch Intern Med — Abstract: Long-term Effects of a Lifestyle Intervention on Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Four-Year Results of the Look AHEAD Trial, September 27, 2010, The Look AHEAD Research Group 170

George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services has released new data on obesity coverage under the Medicaid program, state employee coverage and mandates for obesity coverage, as well as their new study on the personal costs due to obesity. See Health Policy | School of Public Health and Health Services | George Washington University

The American College of Physicians has released a paper, Ethical Considerations for the Use of Patient Incentives to Promote Personal Responsibility for Health: West Virginia Medicaid and Beyond. The paper addresses evolving wellness programs which involve “incentives” or “penalties,” depending on one’s point of view. The paper cautions, “”motivating behavior change is much more complex than can be accomplished with a single strategy and requires both an individual commitment to health as well as societal collaboration to eliminate barriers. The College adds that such programs “must be designed to allocate benefits equitably;  must not include penalties.”    See,

States and Localities

September 27th, 2009 No comments »

Institute of Medicine guide to localities IOM Releases Action Steps for Local Governments to Prevent Childhood Obesity – RWJF

Gallup map of state obesity, diabetes rankings. Obesity and Diabetes: Across States, a Clear Relationship

Map of state’s health America’s Health Rankings 2008 – Nation at a Glance

State Policies and Prevalence: F as in Fat 2009 – Trust for America’s Health

How States can use evaluation


What Counties Can Do: NACo | Childhood Obesity Crisis: What Can Counties Do?


Mayors’ Guide to Combating Obesity:


CDC community guides The Community Guide – Obesity Prevention

How Neighborhoods Affect Obesity. RAND | Research Briefs | How Neighborhoods Can Reduce the Risk of Obesity

CDC Community Physical Activity The Community Guide – Promoting Physical Activity

The National Library of Medicine’s Medline Plus can help you find local community resources at MedlinePlus Go Local Index