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Survey: Obesity Rates In New York Lower Than U.S. Average

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"If you're poorer, you're more likely to be overweight or obese."

While a new report finds one in every three Americans is considered obese, New York appears on the lower end of U.S. average obesity numbers.

Obesity rates in America have reached an all-time high according to the 16th annual State of Obesity Report from the Trust for America’s Health, a national non-profit funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It shows nine states with adult obesity rates at or above 35 percent in 2018. Analysis by the Trust provides an annual snapshot of obesity rates nationwide.

27.6 percent of New York residents have obesity as compared to the national obesity rate of 30.9 percent.

Healthy Capital District Initiative executive director Kevin Jobin-Davis says being overweight orobese is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.  "It's also a major contributing factor to heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, arthritis and a number of other conditions, including depression."

West Virginia and Mississippi lead the TFAH report on obesity rates among adults at 39.5 percent, up over 1 percent from the previous year. 

27.6 percent of New York residents have obesity as compared to the national obesity rate of 30.9 percent.  Vermont was a tad lower at 27.5 percent. Connecticut followed at 27.4 . Massachusetts scored 25.7 percent.  

TFAH President and CEO John Auerbach says the survey found obesity levels are closely tied to socio-economic conditions and that individuals with lower incomes are at higher risk.    "If you're poorer, you're more likely to be overweight or obese, and that has to do with the availability within your community to buy healthful food or to have a safe, easy location nearby to exercise. Schools in lower income neighborhoods are often less likely to have the nutritional options that schools in well-resourced communities have."

Jobin-Davis says an HCDI survey found a disparity in obesity along racial lines in the Capital Region.  "38 percent of black non-Hispanics are obese versus 28 percent of white non-Hispanics to a lesser degree, low-income residents of the region are more obese with about 3 percent more residents earning below $25,000 a year being obese."

The report calls for taxing sugary drinks, expanding SNAP and WIC Nutrition support programs and encouraging people to engage in physical activity.

Auerbach notes aside from shortening one's life, obesity is tied to rising health care costs and potentially threatens national security, as per the Department of Defense.  "Being overweight or obese is the most common reason that young adults are ineligible for military service, and even once you're in the military, the obesity rates are growing."

DOD figures show obesity rates in the Army, Air Force and Marines doubled in less than a decade.

The report calls for taxing sugary drinks, expanding SNAP and WIC Nutrition support programs and encouraging people to engage in physical activity.

Colorado was the only state with an obesity rate of 23 percent—the lowest of all 50 states and DC. The Trust for America's Health based its report in part on newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

16th annual State of Obesity report by the Trust for America’s Health on Scribd

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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