As Obesity Increases Across the Country, So Do Related Medical Costs, Studies Show

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Washington, Dc — Obesity is a growing and costly problem for the United States, as two recent reports show. An estimated $147 billion a year in medical spending is used to treat obesity-related diseases in America, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study released last month found.

Between 1998 and 2006, researchers said that U.S. obesity rates climbed 37 percent, which translated to an 89 percent increase in health costs for obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. For the study, scientists from RTI International, the CDC and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality analyzed data on medical costs during those years.

The CDC released 24 new recommendations on healthy eating and exercise and encouraged communities and schools to join its efforts in combating obesity.

Another report, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009,” released in July found that adult obesity rates increased in 23 states during the past year and did not decrease in any states.

For the fifth year in a row, Mississippi had the highest rate of adult obesity at 32.5 percent, followed by Alabama (31.2 percent), West Virginia (31.1 percent) and Tennessee (30.2 percent).

Colorado had the lowest adult obesity rate (18.9 percent).

Eight of the 10 states with the highest percentage of obese adults were in the South, per the report, which was released by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Also, the percentage of obese or overweight children (aged 10 to 17) was at or above 30 percent in 30 states. Mississippi had the highest rate of obese and overweight children at 44.4 percent.

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