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CDC: U.S. Adult Obesity Rate Up Sharply

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

There are now 19 states and two U.S. territories where 35% or more of adult residents are obese, according to CDC data released this week. The number of states with such a proportion has doubled since 2018.

The highest obesity rates were reported among Black adults, those age 45-54 years, those without a high school degree or equivalent, and adults living in Southern states. All states and territories reported more than 20% of adults are obese.

“This report illustrates the urgent need for making obesity prevention and treatment accessible to all Americans in every state and every community,” said Debra Houry, MD, MPH, CDC acting principal deputy director. “When we provide stigma-free support to adults living with obesity, we can help save lives and reduce severe outcomes of disease.”

This week, the Biden administration hosted the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The conference was guided by a national strategy built on five pillars: improve food access and affordability, integrate nutrition and health, empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices, support physical activity for all, and enhance nutrition and food research.

The only other time the White House hosted this event was in 1969. That conference led to the expansion of school lunch and food stamp programs, improvements in food labels, and the creation of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

“There are key actions and resources that can help slow and ultimately reverse the obesity epidemic,” said Karen Hacker, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “These include supporting healthy individual lifestyle changes and ensuring that all people have access to healthy foods, evidence-based healthcare services, obesity treatment programs, and safe places for physical activity.”

For more on this and related subjects, be sure to read the latest issues of Integrative Medicine Alert, Internal Medicine Alert, and Primary Care Reports.