Southern states are fatest in nation


POSTED: Friday, July 8, 2011 - 9:56am

UPDATED: Friday, July 8, 2011 - 10:07am

America’s waistline continues to grow, especially in places where belts are tighter because of the economy. A new report finds obesity rates have risen, and the south is hit particularly hard.

"Over the course of 20 years, 17 states have seen their obesity rates rise by at least 90 percent," Richard Hamburg, Deputy Director of Trust for America’s Health, explained.

The report found the percentage of obese adults increased in 16 states between 2009 and 2010, most of those states in the south, where poverty rates tend to be highest. Researchers point to a lack of access to healthcare and places where diet is traditionally higher in fat.

Mississippi had the largest percentage of obese adults. Colorado was the leanest state, however.

"Even Colorado - when you combine overweight and obese is still well over 50 percent of the population," Hamburg added.

Researchers say the nation is suffering from a major lack of exercise. The number of adults who said they don't get any physical activity increased in 14 states last year.

Walking or biking to school and work is the exception. Most of us now live in commuter societies.

"That's just become the norm, and we have to figure out programs and policies that are going to get Americans up and walking again," Hamburg declared.

Obesity increases the risk for various health problems, including heart disease, type II diabetes and some cancers.

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