The data, released by the nonprofit organization, Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), shows that 27.4 percent of Connecticut residents are considered obese by modern health standards, putting the state in the 44th spot. The national average, on the other hand, was found to be 30.9 percent.
Nationwide obesity rates were studied as part of the 16th annual State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America report, released Thursday, Sept. 12.
Based partly on newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the report calls for measures including sugary drink taxes, expanded SNAP and WIC nutrition support programs and a “built environment that encourages physical activity” to address what’s being called a “health crisis.”
Mississippi and West Virginia tied for the most obese state with a rating of 30.9 percent. Colorado had the lowest obesity rating with 23 percent.
The health risks of obesity can be severe and include increased risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and many types of cancers, according to TFAH. The condition is also estimated to increase national healthcare spending by $149 million each year, about half of which is paid for by Medicare and Medicaid.
“These latest data shout that our national obesity crisis is getting worse. They tell us that almost 50 years into the upward curve of obesity rates, we haven’t yet found the right mix of programs to stop the epidemic,” said John Auerbach, President and CEO of TFAH. “Isolated programs and calls for lifestyle changes aren’t enough. Instead, our report highlights the fundamental changes that are needed in the social and economic conditions that make it challenging for people to eat healthy foods and get sufficient exercise.”
In total, the report recommends 31 actions for policy changes by federal, state and local government across several sectors. The actions are intended to boost the accessibility of nutritious foods, provide safe opportunities for physical activity and minimize harmful and/or misleading marketing and advertising tactics.
“Creating the conditions that allow people to more easily make healthy choices is central to preventing obesity, as is prioritizing investment in those communities most affected by the crisis,” said Auerbach.
To read TFAH’s full State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America report, click here.
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