Report: More states are reporting adult obesity rates over 35%

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Across the country, more adults are living with obesity than ten years ago.

A new report from Trust for America’s Health, a non-partisan health policy advocacy organization, shows that 19 states have adult obesity rates over 35 percent. This rate is up significantly from a decade ago when every single state had rates below that level.

“It’s societal, its structural, its economic factors and it’s not only impacting adults, it’s also impacting our youth,” said Dr. Nadine Gracia, President, and CEO of Trust for America’s Health.

Dr. Gracia said the obesity rate in kids and teens is up to 20 percent.

“You can see increased risks of high blood pressure of type two diabetes, and also symptoms such as depression or feelings of social isolation, because they may feel stigmatized or experienced discrimination because of their weight,” she said.

The report also highlights some racial disparities. Black adults have the highest level of obesity at nearly 50 percent nationwide compared to white adults whose rate is around 41 percent.

According to Dr. Gracia, this can be caused by systemic inequities like poverty and limited access to quality healthcare.

“When you think about opportunities in employment for living wages, and being able to assure that families can put food on the table that’s healthy and nutritious,” she said.

To address these rates, researchers are now calling for an increase in funding for obesity prevention programs in every state.

“When we invest in obesity prevention, we’re actually going to see an improvement in health outcomes,” said Dr. Gracia. “We’ll see students who are better able to learn we’ll see workers who have higher productivity because they’re not out because of illness.”