There is a troubling, but not surprising, report out, “State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America,” by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that shows Georgia coming in 19th among states in obesity with 30.7 percent of its adult residents considered obese. This should be no surprise because the obesity rate has been climbing in Georgia and most of the rest of the country since 1990. That year the rate was only 10 percent in the Peach State.
Obesity isn’t just a Georgia problem; in fact four states — Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia — have rates above 35 percent. In 1990, Louisiana had a rate of only 12.3 percent. Another 25 states, including Georgia, have obesity rates between 30 percent and 34.9 percent.
Is there any good news in this latest report? Certainly, four states — Minnesota, Montana, New York and Ohio — had obesity rates fall. This was the first time since 2010 when there was a decline in Washington, D.C.
Poor Mississippi can’t catch a break. The state has the highest reported percentage of physical inactivity among adults at 36.8 percent; 18.9 percent of its high school students are obese as are 21.7 percent of its 10-17 year-olds.
High obesity rates show up in other statistics. In Georgia, 11.3 percent of the population has diabetes; 36.2 percent have hypertension. In real numbers, that’s more than 700,000 people with diabetes with an estimated number reaching 1.3 million by 2030 if the rate of increase continues at the same pace. For hypertension, the statistics are even more grim with projections reaching 2.3 million by 2030. That does not count obesity-related cancers, heart disease and other maladies associated with obesity.