Some of you may remember last year's newletter where I was happy to report that Ohio had dropped in the United State's obesity percentage ranking. Unfortunatly, this year we regressed back to tie for 10th fattest state in the nation, according to the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Tied at 28.6%, Ohio and Arkansas aren't as fat as Mississippi, the fattest state in the nation with 32.5% of it's population being obese. None of the states saw a decresease in their obesity percentages, and almost half saw an increase. Colorado stands alone as being the fittest state in the nation with between 15-20% of it's population categorized as obese.
The economy seems to be taking most of the blame for the country's increasing obesity problem. With unemployment at a record 26-year high and health care costs soaring, more and more Americans are spending less on their own health care, while at the same time seeking out cheaper foods that don't offer the same type of quality nutrition that fresh foods have.
The most upsetting part of the study was the prevalency of obesity amoung young people. 28.6% of Ohio's population is obese, but of people aged 10 to 17, 33.3% were obese. The future looks even more grim when I consider the cost of health care as these young ones get older. The Ohio Department of Health is taking a closer look at the state's youth and the quality of food being offered in schools, and there is talk of developing an Office of Healthy Schools. This new office would be involved in developing guidelines for foods that are offered at state schools.
We can't leave everything up to local and federal government! You can take small steps toward improving you health, even if you decide to improve your eating only one day a week. Invest in a pedometer to help you count your steps for the day (a great goal is 10,000 steps/day) and if you always eat out for lunch, begin by starting a "pack your lunch Tuesday" rule for yourself. Weight loss can be slow, but making changes over time will help ensure you develop new patterns and start living a healthier lifestyle.
You can read more about Ohio's plan to combat obesity at www.healthyohioprogram.org