Nebraska ranks as the 20th most obese state in the country, according to a new study from the Trust for America’s Health. The state ranked 23rd on last year’s report, so the situation is worsening.
Rich Hamburg, deputy director of the trust, says this study focused only on adults, but he says the obesity numbers for children are beginning to reflect a change.
“We’re definitely beginning to see some decreases among youth and that’s a real focus,” Hamburg says. “Prevention, particularly among children, is key. It’s certainly easier and more effective to prevent obesity than it is to reverse trends.”
The report, called The State of Obesity, reviews key programs that can help prevent and address obesity by improving nutrition in schools, increasing physical activity, expanding health care coverage and by making healthy foods more affordable.
“More than 95% of schools now meet the nutrition standards required by the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010 for school meals,” Hamburg says. “There’s a Smart Snacks program starting last year for competitive foods, those are foods sold a la carte invending machines.”
For more than 20 years, the numbers have continued to worsen for all states but in the past few years, some states have shown dropping obesity rates among adults. Nebraska isn’t one of them.
Last year’s study showed 29.6% of Nebraska adults were obese, while this year, it’s risen to 30.2%. The worst-ranked states for obesity are: Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, while the best-ranked states are: Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, California and Vermont.
Obesity increases a person’s risk for cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Cardiovascular diseases are the number-one cause of death in the nation while stroke is number-five.