Americans need to go on a collective diet.
After eight months of carefully watching what I eat and trying to maintain a regular exercise program I have dropped 13 pounds and have brought weight down so that I sit on the edge of being overweight, with a BMI of 24.8 (very, VERY high normal). On any given day I could add a pound and tip over into being overweight, like most people in Pennsyvlania and the rest of the country.
Nearly two in three adult Americans (63 percent) were either overweight or obese in 2009, according to data released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And none of the states have reached the national goal of getting the obesity rate down to 15 percent by 2010 – Colorado was the only state below 20 percent (18.9 percent).
In Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey and we were living large with obesity rates of 28 percent, 27.5 percent and 23.5 percent respectively – part of the broad middle nationally. But obesity, defined having a body mass index of 30 or greater was not the only problem area for folks across the country or in this region.
“Obesity continues to be a major public health problem,” said Thomas Frieden, the CDC’s director. “We need intensive, comprehensive and ongoing efforts to address obesity. If we don’t, more people will get sick and die from obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.”
The obesity rates and other measures in the CDC report were based on new data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey that involved phone interviews with 400,000 people who provided their height and weight to enable their BMIs to be calculated.
In 2009, an additional 2.4 million Americans were obese compared to the previous year, according to the analysis of the survey data. The CDC report noted that the annual medical costs people who are obese are approximately $1,429 higher than those who are normal weight.
According to the CDC, 35.9 percent of Pennsylvanians were overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9) and 28 percent were obese. New Jersey residents were slightly better, with 37.9 percent overweight, and 23.9 percent obese. Delaware’s weight profile was similar to Pennsylvania: 36.1 percent were overweight, and 27.5 percent were obese.
Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee had the nation’s highest obesity rates at 35.3 percent, 33.9 percent, and 32.8 percent respectively, according to the CDC.