Physical health continues to be put on the back burner for American citizens. Obesity rates are climbing, not to mention those who simply qualify as overweight. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2017 data revealed that in 7 states over 35 percent of residents are obese. This is an uptick from just 5 such states in 2015. In 2012 not a single state had an obesity rate of 35 percent or more.
President of Trust for America’s Health John Auerbach notes, “America’s obesity epidemic continues to have serious health and cost consequences for individuals, their families and our nation.” Every individual that classifies under the medical diagnosis obese may be personally aware of the impact this state of fitness has on one’s overall livelihood. However, the impact obesity has on the entire nation is likely not so easily understood.
UPI reports, “An estimated $149 billion is spent annually in directly related health spending.” This number could potentially be quite a bit higher if other indirect factors are taken into account. Nevertheless, an additional “$66 billion each year” can be factored in for “lowered economic productivity costs.”
The personal toll is serious enough, and something that individuals have to deal with on a daily basis. However, the national toll represents just how much the collective effort of Americans is weighed down by this health crisis.
“States with obesity rates of 35 percent or now include Iowa and Oklahoma” as well as “Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia,” UPI reports. “West Virginia tops the obesity wall of shame. More than 38 percent of adults there have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more. Colorado has the lowest adult obesity rate in the nation, at just 22.6 percent.”
Noting that Colorado is the lowest at 22.6 percent, it can be concluded that in every state at least 1 in 5 adults is obese. This still undershoots the reality of the situation. “Overall, 22 states had adult obesity rates between 30 and 35 percent, while obesity was health concern for at least one-quarter of adult residents across 19 states,” UPI reports.
Prevention programs are being drawn up and may soon be implemented across the country. These may or may not be effective, but will certainly drive up the $149 billion in national cost directly tied to health spending on obesity.
Knowledge of healthy dietary habits and exercise benefits has never been more easily accessible. Yet, obesity rates have not subsided. Programs can be instilled, books can be published, conventions can be held, but what it really comes down to is whether or not America’s can find the will to get healthy.