In a new study, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 16 states now have obesity rates of 35 percent or more, up from 12 percent in 2019 and compared to no states reporting rates at the 35 percent level in 2012.

The CDC report recommends improved nutrition and increased physical activity to prevent obesity and support weight maintenance to reduce health care costs and early loss of life. 

The CDC also noted that obese adults are at higher risk for severe health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, some cancers, and poorer mental health. Obesity has also been shown to increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Responding to the report, the SFIA applauded the agency for promoting action at the policy and systems-level for obesity prevention and weight management starting in a person’s early years of life. Everyone has access to quality food and physical space to be healthy and physically active.

“The obesity problem in the U.S. continues to get worse and will have a negative impact on America’s physical and economic health for generations if we do not enact policies to reverse this trend,” said Tom Cove, President and CEO of SFIA. “Chronic disease is what drives our healthcare spending. The good news is we can reduce both sickness and health care costs by promoting healthy lifestyles.”

The CDC announcement follows a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study on the cognitive benefits of activity. Researchers found that the exercise-induced hormone, irisin, improves cognitive performance in mice and could be used to treat disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

The SFIA said it “supports efforts to provide more places to be active through Land & Water Conservation Grants and CDC’s High Obesity Program and that Congress and the Federal Government need to do more to prevent obesity through increased activity or the U.S. will continue on its current path and healthcare will, in turn, eat up more of our GDP and harm our economy. Lower healthcare spending per person will stretch our healthcare dollars to provide greater coverage for all Americans.”

Cove continued, “We know the problem, but we also know some solutions. Policies and programs to get Americans to be more active and to make good dietary choices will make a difference and should be a national priority.”

Photo courtesy Lululemon as seen in Shape Magazine