Iowa Ranked 12th Fattest in Nation
By Forrest Saunders, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A new report by the Trust for America's Health says 30.4% of Iowa adults are obese, making the state the 12th fattest in the nation. It falls between the fattest state, Louisiana (34.7%) and most slim, Colorado (20.5%).
According to the study, Iowa is one of 13 states that have adult obesity rates above 30%. That’s a big jump from 1980, when no state's rate was higher than 15%.
"It's definitely disappointing," said Amanda Smith, a St. Luke's Health Education Specialist.
Smith said 60% to 70% of Linn County residents are considered overweight or obese, meaning only around 30% have a Body Mass Index in the “normal” range.
What’s the cause? Some blame it on Iowa's diet. "Us, Midwestern people, love to eat. We like our meat and potatoes," said Georgia Roe.
Others said it's the weather keeping us inactive. "I guess there's not as much for people to do around here in the winter time," said Tami Flockhart.
Smith said it's a lot of factors. Two of the biggest-- people aren't as active they used to be. Plus, unhealthy food can be cheaper than healthy food, and more convenient.
"Forty-two percent of Americans prepare meals at home,” said Smith. “It's much easier to run through and get fast food then prepare a healthy meal from scratch."
Trust for America said evidence suggests adult obesity rates may be slowing. In fact, if you factor in margins of error, the group’s recent data shows only one state increased its rate this year. However, unless further improvements are made, Trust for America estimates obesity rates in Iowa could climb as high as 54% by 2030.
Smith said it won’t be a quick fix. "When we look at change from the community health perspective, we want to see a systematic approach.” Smith said that means making healthier choices in our individual, social, even work lifestyles.
Iowa Health officials reported the new numbers did show progress is being made in the fight against childhood obesity. They said from 2008-2011 low-income preschoolers saw a nearly one percent drop in obesity rates.
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