Obesity rates in U.S. | Half of Illinoisans to be obese by 2030

September 18, 2012 (CHICAGO)

According to the study by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 53.7 percent of the Illinois' population could be obese by 2030; 56.0 percent in Indiana; and 56.3 percent in Wisconsin.

Mississippi is expected to still be fattest state in the nation for at least two more decades. The report predicts two-thirds of that state's adults will be obese by 2030. That would be an astounding jump from Mississippi's current obesity rate of 35 percent.

List of obesity projections, state by state

Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation regularly report on obesity to raise awareness, and indicate that rising obesity rates could lead to an increase in costs for health care and lost productivity.

The report F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012 says that reducing obesity could lower the number of people with diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension, arthritis and obesity-related cancers.

T hey rely on government figures- but in this case their dismal forecast goes beyond the 42 percent national obesity level that federal health officials project by 2030.

About two-thirds of Americans are overweight now. That includes those who are obese, a group that accounts for about 36 percent. Obesity rates have been holding steady in recent years.

Trust for America's Health officials said their projections are based in part on state-by-state surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1999 through 2010. Those numbers come from what residents say are their height and weight when asked by interviewers over the phone. People aren't always so accurate about that.

The researchers then looked at other national data in which residents were actually weighed and measured and they made adjustments for how much people in each state might fudge the truth about their weight. They also tried to apply recent trends in obesity rates, along with other factors, to make the predictions.

Officials with Trust for America's Health said they believe their projections are reasonable.

But their outlook suggests that even in the thinnest state - Colorado, where about one-fifth of residents are obese - 45 percent are predicted to be obese by 2030. That means that every state would have an obesity rate higher than 44 percent.

Perhaps more surprising - Delaware is expected to have obesity levels nearly as high as Mississippi. Delaware currently is in the middle of the pack when it comes to self-reported obesity rates.

The report didn't detail why some states' rates were expected to jump more than others. It also didn't calculate an average adult obesity rate for the entire nation in 2030, as the CDC did a few months ago when it predicted 42 percent overall. But a researcher who worked on the Trust for America's Health study acknowledged that report's numbers point toward a figure close to 50 percent.

CDC officials declined to comment on the new report.

Whichever estimates you trust most, it's clear that the nation's weight problem is going to continue, escalating the number of cases of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, said Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health.

By 2030, medical costs from treating obesity-related diseases are likely to increase by $48 billion, to $66 billion per year, his report said.

The focus of so much of the ongoing debate about health care is over controlling costs, Levi said. "... We can only achieve it by addressing obesity. Otherwise, we're just tinkering around the margins."

    2011 obesity levels followed by the Trust for America's Health projections for 2030:
  • Mississippi, 35 percent, 67 percent
  • Oklahoma, 31 percent, 66 percent
  • Delaware, 29 percent, 65 percent
  • Tennessee, 29 percent, 63 percent
  • South Carolina, 31 percent, 63 percent
  • Alabama, 32 percent, 63 percent
  • Kansas, 30 percent, 62 percent
  • Louisiana, 33 percent, 62 percent
  • Missouri, 30 percent, 62 percent
  • Arkansas, 31 percent, 61 percent
  • South Dakota, 28 percent, 60 percent
  • West Virginia, 32 percent, 60 percent
  • Kentucky, 30 percent, 60 percent
  • Ohio, 30 percent, 60 percent
  • Michigan, 31 percent, 59 percent
  • Arizona, 25 percent, 59 percent
  • Maryland, 28 percent, 59 percent
  • Florida, 27 percent, 59 percent
  • North Carolina, 29 percent, 58 percent
  • New Hampshire, 26 percent, 58 percent
  • Texas, 30 percent, 57 percent
  • North Dakota, 28 percent, 57 percent
  • Nebraska, 28 percent, 57 percent
  • Pennsylvania, 29 percent, 57 percent
  • Wyoming, 25 percent, 57 percent
  • Wisconsin, 28 percent, 56 percent
  • Indiana, 31 percent, 56 percent
  • Washington, 27 percent, 56 percent
  • Maine, 28 percent, 55 percent
  • Minnesota, 26 percent, 55 percent
  • Iowa, 29 percent, 54 percent
  • New Mexico, 26 percent, 54 percent
  • Rhode Island, 25 percent, 54 percent
  • Illinois, 27 percent, 54 percent
  • Georgia, 28 percent, 54 percent
  • Montana, 25 percent, 54 percent
  • Idaho, 27 percent, 53 percent
  • Hawaii, 22 percent, 52 percent
  • New York, 25 percent, 51 percent
  • Virginia, 29 percent, 50 percent
  • Nevada, 25 percent, 50 percent
  • Oregon, 27 percent, 49 percent
  • Massachusetts, 23 percent, 49 percent
  • New Jersey, 24 percent, 49 percent
  • Vermont, 25 percent, 48 percent
  • California, 24 percent, 47 percent
  • Connecticut, 25 percent, 47 percent
  • Utah, 24 percent, 46 percent
  • Alaska, 27 percent, 46 percent
  • Colorado, 21 percent, 45 percent
  • District of Columbia, 24 percent, 33 percent

Cicero store tries to buck obesity trend

For 12 years, Cicero residents have been stopping by Rosie's Food Mart. The owners began carrying more fresh produce and labeling healthy options on the shelves. It's part of a program with Corazon Community Services to reduce obesity. They just started tracked how much healthy food is actually being sold.

"We hope to utilize the data that we've gathered from the inventory that's been going out in to the community in order to apply for more funding so that we can continue to increase the access of healthy products," said Erika Zacarias, Corazon Community Services.

"Just for obesity, by the year 2030, healthcare costs for obesity-related illnesses could be $27 billion in Illinois," said Elissa Bassler, Illinois Public Health Institute

Zacarias fears the Latino communities she serves in Cicero and Berwyn could have even higher obesity rates unless a new generation turns away from unhealthy options.

"We really want to make sure our youth and our parents are aware of what's going on and give them the tools that are necessary in order to prevent this from happening," said Zacarias.

For now, Rosie's stocks popular junk food but the owners are seeing customers make healthier choices little by little.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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