“F as in Fat” obesity report released

A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health shows obesity is on the rise and tops 30 percent in 12 states. Ten years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 24 percent.

The “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011” report ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Florida ranked as the 29th most obese state in the nation, faring better than its counterparts in the South but still more than a quarter (26.1 percent) of the population

However, black adults in Florida have a significantly higher obesity rate: 38.8 percent compared to 24.1 percent for white adults.Of the younger population, 18.3 percent of children and adolescents in Florida are considered obese.

Obesity is associated with health problems and diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. It is also an indicator in poor birth outcomes — obesity was prevalent in 32 percent of infant deaths in Northeast Florida from 2005-2009, according to the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review.

The report includes the following recommendations for policymakers:

  • Protect the Prevention and Public Health Fund: Protect the fund from cuts, use a significant portion for obesity prevention and do not use it to offset or justify cuts to other Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) programs.
  • Implementing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act: TFAH and RWJF recommend that the USDA issue a final rule as swiftly as possible regarding school meal regulations and issue strong standards for competitive food and beverages.
  • Implementing the National Physical Activity Plan: Fully implement the policies, programs, and initiatives outlined in the National Physical Activity Plan. This includes a grassroots advocacy effort; a public education program; a national resource center; a policy development and research center; and dissemination of best practices.
  • Restoring Cuts to Vital Programs: Restore $833 million in cuts made in the fiscal year 2011 continuing resolution and fully fund programs to improve nutrition in child care settings and nutrition assistance programs such as WIC.