Two thirds of American adults are too fat

Obesity rates continued to climb in the past year with 23 U.S. states reporting adults in their states are fatter now than they were a year ago, two advocacy groups said on Wednesday.
Two-thirds of American adults are either obese or overweight, and the groups warned that the U.S. obesity epidemic could derail efforts by lawmakers to reform the nation's health system.
"Our health care costs have grown along with our waist lines," said Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's health, which released the report along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The report also calls for a national strategy to combat obesity, which causes heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
"The obesity epidemic is a big contributor to the skyrocketing health care costs in the United States. How are we going to compete with the rest of the world if our economy and workforce are weighed down by bad health?" Levi said in a statement.
The annual ranking of obesity rates in U.S. states found Mississippi continues as the state with the fattest residents, with nearly a third of adults considered obese. The U.S. state has topped the list for the past five years.
Three other states -- West Virginia, Alabama, and Tennessee -- now have obesity rates above 30 percent, according to the report.
Among U.S. children, obesity rates held steady, but at still alarmingly high levels, with 30 states reporting the percentage of obese or overweight children at above 30 percent.
A report last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found the U.S. childhood obesity epidemic leveled off this decade after surging for about 20 years, but a worrisome number of young people remain obese, risking serious health problems.
Childhood and adult obesity has emerged as a growing problem not only in the United States but in many countries around the world.
Obese children are more likely to be saddled with risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as type 2 diabetes. They also are at higher risk for asthma.
They also are much more likely to be obese in adulthood, when they may face the many health problems linked to obesity such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. (Reuters Health, 7.01.2009)

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