Texas ranks 12th in obesity, report says

Staff - star-telegram.com - 07/07/2011
Obesity Surgeries

WASHINGTON -- A new report says Texas is the 12th most obese state in the nation.

About 30 percent of the state's adults are obese. That's according to a report released Thursday by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For the seventh year in a row, Mississippi is listed No. 1 for percentage of obese adults, at more than 34 percent. Colorado was listed last, with just under 20 percent of adults considered obese.

The annual obesity report by two public health groups looked for the first time at state-by-state statistics over the last two decades. Fifteen years ago, the Texas obesity rate was 16 percent and the state was ranked the 16th most obese.

Texas has a combined obesity and overweight rate of about 67 percent.

The report has again delivered bad news: The nation is getting bigger and bigger every year. And looking at state-by-state statistics over the last 15 years, the groups found exponential waistline growth -- Colorado, according to 2010 data, would have been the nation's fattest state in 1995.

"When you look at it year by year, the changes are incremental," said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health. "When you look at it by a generation, you see how we got into this problem."

The study says a dozen states topped 30 percent obesity in 2010, most of them in the South. Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee and Louisiana were close behind Mississippi. Just five years ago, in 2006, Mississippi was the only state above 30 percent.

Jim Marks of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said the numbers have skyrocketed over the last couple of decades because of the growth of portion sizes and the ready availability of unhealthful foods. Schools have ditched physical education programs, and school lunches have gotten less healthful.

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