Colorado still skinniest state |

Colorado still skinniest state

Bill Scanlon
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado

COLORADO ” When foreigners call the United States a fat country, people here can say, “Don’t blame me, I’m from Colorado.”

Coloradans are packing on the pounds, but still rank lowest in obesity among the 50 states, according to the fifth annual F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America report.

In Colorado, 18.4 percent of adults are obese, which is beyond overweight, marking the second year in a row that that percentage has grown here, the report says.

Still, Colorado is the only state in the nation in which less than one in five adults are obese.

Not a single state saw a decrease in the percentage of obese adults, according to the report funded by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Report authors used data from the Centers for Disease Control’s 2005-2007 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Surveys.

The report concludes that while many promising policies have emerged to promote exercise, those aren’t being implemented in the right way. It calls America’s obesity epidemic “a health crisis.”

In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent, and 11 years earlier, the national average was an obesity rate of 15 percent.

Colorado also ranks lowest in type 2 diabetes, which is connected closely with obesity. Colorado is second lowest in hypertension.

The connection between obesity and poverty was profound.

Seven of the 10 states with the highest obesity rates are also in the top 10 for highest poverty rates.

Mississippi had the highest adult obesity rate, at 32 percent. Nine of the 10 states with the highest percentages were in the south.

In 28 states, more than a quarter of the adults are obese.

“America’s future depends on the health of our country,” said Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health. “The obesity epidemic is lowering our productivity and dramatically increasing our health care costs.

“We’re not treating the obesity epidemic with the urgency it deserves.”

Ranking just behind Colorado in lowest percentage of obese adults was Hawaii, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Colorado shouldn’t be smug, because its obesity rate is growing and it’s nowhere near a model state in promoting exercise and good nutrition, say the authors. — Colorado is not one of the 13 states in the nation that actively enforce the laws mandating physical education in the public schools.

— Colorado is one of 18 states with laws requiring school meals to exceed USDA nutrition standards, but not one of the seven that have specific enforcement requirements.

— Colorado is one of 10 states that do not include coverage for nutrition assessment and counseling for overweight children on Medicaid.

— Colorado is one of 20 states that don’t explicity cover nutrition and consulting services for obese adults under Medicaid.

The F as in Fat report recommends that the nation set a goal of reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015.

That would require partnerships between state, local and federal governments and with businesses, communities and schools, said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, CEO of the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation.

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