It's official: Obesity is a "major public health threat"

You'd think it couldn't get any worse, then it does. I'm talking about the size of the American people. It's no wonder that first lady Michele Obama has made fighting obesity the cause of her time in the White House. Maybe we can save the next generation because this adult one is getting bigger by the year.

Today's news: A solid one in four Americans is considered obese, and in nine states, 30 percent of the population is obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the increase is enough to make obesity an epidemic and "a major public health threat." Not surprising, when you consider that in 2007, three states claimed 30 percent of its residents to be obese, and in 2000, no states hit the 30-percent threshold.

We are moving in the wrong direction.

Here's a closer look at some of the frightening numbers:

  • There are more obese adults in the South (28.4 percent) and the Midwest (28.2 percent) than in the Northeast and the West (both 24 percent).
  • Mississippi has the highest rate of obesity (34 percent)
  • The other eight states with more than 30 percent of its population unhealthily overweight are Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahom, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
  • The healthiest states, meaning less than 20 percent of its residents are obese, are Colorado and the District of Columbia.
  • Breaking it down by ethnic groups, non-Hispanic black women have the highest rate of obesity (41.9 percent), followed by Hispanics (30.7 percent).
Obesity is measured by body mass index, or BMI. If your BMI is 30 or above, you're obese. To get to 30 means you are about 30 pounds over a healthy weight, which opens the door to all kinds of health problems: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers.The CDC estimates that obesity-induced diseases are costing Americans as much as $150 billion a year.

So how did we get here? Eating too much, eating too much of high-fat, processed foods, and not getting nearly enough exercise. For a full list of reasons from the CDC read to the end of this article.

Then ask yourself: Could I or anyone in my family be considered obese? If so, what are you going to do about it?

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