Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The American Annual Obesity Report Results

The nation's annual obesity rankings are in, and the report does not bode well for either the health of many Americans, or the purse of medicare.

Over the past year obesity rates among adults rose in 23 states. The rates did not decline in any state. This report does not even count how many adults are merely overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30, but focuses on those who are obese which means having a BMI greater than 30. An example of a person with a BMI over 30 would be someone who is 5 feet 7 inches tall weighing over 190 pounds.

The results: Mississippi wins again (or loses) as the state with the most obese adults having 32.5% in this category. Other states with more than 30% of the residents obese include West Virginia, Alabama, and Tennessee. The states with the fewest obese population are Colorado , Massachusetts, and Connecticut coming in with 20%, 21.2% and 21.3%, respectively.

The connection to medicare is the fact that the rate of obesity continues to rise in the 55-64 year old population group. Health economists once believed that obese seniors would weed themselves out of the high medical costs by dying younger of obesity-related illnesses. Now, however, it appears they are living as long as non-obese adults, living sicker, and costing a lot in healthcare dollars. The average obese older adult spends an average of $1400-$6000 more in healthcare per year than other adults.

Is there any good news? Well, last year the incidence of obesity rose in 37 states. Maybe we are starting to see a slower gain and this would be a welcome trend.

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