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New State of Obesity Report shows slight decrease in SC adult obesity rates

stateofobesity2016South Carolina now has the 13th highest adult obesity rate in the nation, according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America released September 2016. South Carolina’s adult obesity rate is currently 31.7 percent, up from 21.1 percent in 2000 and from 12.0 percent in 1990.

According to the most recent data, adult obesity rates now exceed 35 percent in four states, 30 percent in 25 states and are above 20 percent in all states. Louisiana has the highest adult obesity rate at 36.2 percent and Colorado has the lowest at 20.2 percent. U.S. adult obesity rates decreased in four states (Minnesota, Montana, New York and Ohio), increased in two (Kansas and Kentucky) and remained stable in the rest, between 2014 and 2015. This marks the first time in the past decade that any states have experienced decreases — aside from a decline in Washington, D.C. in 2010.

Despite these modest gains, obesity continued to put millions of Americans at increased risk for a range of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, and costs the country between $147 billion and $210 billion each year.

The State of Obesity also found that:

  • 9 of the 11 states with the highest obesity rates are in the South and 22 of the 25 states with the highest rates of obesity are in the South and Midwest.
  • 10 of the 12 states with the highest rates of diabetes are in the South.
  • American Indian/Alaska Natives have an adult obesity rate of 42.3 percent.
  • Adult obesity rates are at or above 40 percent for Blacks in 14 states.
  • Adult obesity rates are at or above 30 percent in: 40 states and Washington, D.C. for Blacks; 29 states for Latinos; and 16 states for Whites.

In addition, recent national data show that childhood obesity rates have stabilized at 17 percent over the past decade. Rates are declining among 2- to 5-year-olds, stable among 6- to 11-year-olds, and increasing among 12- to 19-year-olds. There are significant racial and ethnic inequities, with rates higher among Latino (21.9 percent) and Black (19.5 percent) children than among White (14.7 percent) children.

Some other findings from the report include:

  • The number of high school students who drink one or more soda a day has dropped by nearly 40 percent since 2007, to around one in five (20.4 percent) (note: does not include sport/energy drinks, diet sodas or water with added sugars).
  • The number of high school students who report playing video or computer games three or more hours a day has increased more than 88 percent since 2003 (from 22.1 to 41.7 percent).
  • More than 29 million children live in “food deserts,” and more than 15 million children live in “food-insecure” households with not enough to eat and limited access to healthy food.
  • The federal government has provided more than $90 million via 44 Healthy Food Financing Initiative awards in 29 states since 2011, helping leverage more than $1 billion and create 2,500 jobs.
  • Farm-to-School programs now serve more than 42 percent of schools and 23.6 million children.
  • 18 states and Washington, D.C. require a minimum amount of time that elementary students must participate in physical education; 14 states and Washington, D.C. require a minimum amount for middle schoolers; and six states require a minimum amount for high schoolers.

Read the full report here. Click on the image above to see SC-specific data.