John Auerbach, president and CEO of Trust for America’s Health, says more Nebraskans need to get serious about their diet and exercise.
“Nebraska is ranked 13th from the bottom, so it is in the bottom 15 in terms of states that are doing well with regard to the obesity rate,” Auerbach says. “It is not a good place for the state to be.”
Kansas was the only state on this year’s report that saw a decrease in its obesity rate while five states had an increase. The rest, like Nebraska, remained steady.
Over the 14 years of these reports, Nebraska’s numbers have continued to inch upward, like our waistline measurements. The latest report shows 32% of Nebraskans are obese, about the same as last year.
“We are concerned about the fact that in 2000, only 20% of the adult population in Nebraska was obese,” Auerbach says, “so there’s still a lot of room for improvement in these obesity rates.”
On the optimistic side, Auerbach says Nebraska’s numbers may finally be stabilizing as we’ve been hovering around 32-percent for a couple of years now.
“We consider leveling off to be certainly better than an increase and we believe leveling off can represent the beginning of controlling the problem of obesity,” Auerbach says. “We hope to move now to a decrease.”
Auerbach’s list of recommendations includes:
- investing in prevention at the federal, state and local levels
- prioritizing early childhood policies and programs like Head Start
- maintaining progress on school-based policies and programs, including full implementation of nutrition standards for school foods
- expanding health care coverage and care, including a full range of obesity prevention, treatment and management services
The top-ranking states, those with the lowest obesity levels, are Hawaii, Massachusetts and -tops- Colorado, where the obesity rate is 22%. The lowest-ranking states on the list are: Alabama, Mississippi and -last- West Virginia, with an obesity rate of almost 38%. Nebraska and Iowa are tied at 13th place with 32%.
See the full report at: stateofobesity.org.