The most recent "F as in Fat" report from the Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says that Colorado is the only state in the Union with an obesity rate of less than 20%.
And even in Colorado, it's still a close shave: 19.1% of residents are obese. (Obesity rates in the District of Columbia actually decreased -- but as every D.C. voter knows, we are not a state! A subject for another blog...)
The obesity map at the Trust for America's Health website is a sea of red, showing all the states where obesity rates are greater than 25%. Many of the report's findings relate to last week's blog about racial disparities in health care: obesity rates are higher for African Americans and Latinos. The more educated you are, or the more money you make, the less likely you are to be obese.
One important takeaway for wellness professionals is the jump in diabetes rates. In several states, diabetes rates are now greater than 10% -- an alarming figure for any business struggling to pay health care premiums. I can't think of a better reason to extend employee wellness programs.
One Colorado resident explained his state's lower rates of obesity by pointing out the plethora of opportunities for outdoor activities -- hiking, biking, mountain climbing, and the like -- that encourage exercise. I think he's on to something. Many of the states with the highest obesity rates also had the lowest rates of physical activity.