Obesity is common, serious, and costly. In 2009, about 2.4 million more adults were obese than in 2007. This epidemic has affected every part of the United States. In every state, more than 15% of adults are obese, and in nine states, over 30% of adults are obese.

The medical care costs of obesity in the United States are staggering. Recent estimates of the annual medical costs are as high as $147 billion. More efforts are needed, and new federal initiatives are helping to change our communities into places that strongly support healthy eating and active living.

Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years. One in seven young people has obesity and one in three is overweight. Children generally do not outgrow obesity: obese 10-14 year olds are 28 times more likely than non-obese children to be obese in young adulthood.

One-quarter of children ages five to 10 years show early warning signs for heart disease, such as elevated blood cholesterol or high blood pressure. Atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) begins in childhood. Autopsy studies of 15 to 19 years old have found that about 10% have advanced fibrous plaques. Type 2 diabetes can no longer be called “adult onset” diabetes because of rising rates in children. In one study, the incidence of type 2 diabetes in adolescents increased ten-fold between 1982 and 1994.

Between 2002 and 2005, the use of type 2 anti-diabetic drugs increased 166% among 10- to 14-year-old girls. Children now have a one in three chance of developing diabetes during their lifetime. According to USDA, children’s sodium intake is 214% above the recommended level, 85% of children consume more saturated fat than is recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and over two-thirds of all foods consumed by school children are foods that are recommended for occasional consumption. At the same time, children have low intakes of vegetables and fruit, and very low intakes of dark green and orange vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Fried potatoes are the largest contributor to vegetable intakes for school-age children.

Unhealthiest States   Unhealthiest KY Counties
  1. Mississippi
  2. Louisiana
  3. Arkansas
  4. Nevada
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Alabama
  7. Kentucky
  8. West Virginia
  9. Tennessee
  10. South Carolina
  11. Texas
  12. Missouri
  13. Indiana
  14. Florida
  15. Georgia
  16. North Carolina
  17. Ohio
  18. New Mexico
  19. Delaware
  20. Arizona
  21. Michigan
  1. Owsley
  2. Martin
  3. Wolfe
  4. Fulton
  5. Magoffin
  6. Perry
  7. Pike
  8. Harlan
  9. Letcher
  10. Knott
  11. Floyd
  12. Clay
  13. Jackson
  14. Knox
  15. Nicholas
  16. Lawrence
  17. Breathitt
  18. Elliott
  19. Bell
  20. Lee
  21. Whitley


January 2021
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