A recent report offers some new insight into how substantial the growth of the nation's obesity problem has been in recent years. This has resulted in higher life insurance and medical costs for many people, as well as increasingly serious public health problems.
According to the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, more than two-thirds of states now have obesity rates above 25 percent, while none of them had a rate above 20 percent as recently as 1991.
The report also found that adult obesity rates increased in 28 states last year, and that only the District of Columbia saw a decline. Obesity rates for blacks and Latinos were said to be higher than for whites in at least 40 states, while Mississippi was said to have the highest obesity rate in the nation for a sixth consecutive year.
"Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges the country has ever faced, and troubling disparities exist based on race, ethnicity, region, and income," said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health.
Another potentially troubling finding in the report was that eight states now have obesity rates above 30 percent, compared to just four last year.