Obesity Rates in Kansas and Missouri

Obesity puts around 78 million Americans at an increased risk for a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. According to a new report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, almost one in every three adults in Kansas and Missouri is clinically obese. The wild rates of obesity across the nation are nothing new. Better Policies for a Healthier America notes that obesity rates nationwide have stabilized, however, the stable level is much too high.

American Obesity Epidemic Figures

In 1980, no state had a rate of obesity above 15 percent. A decade later, no state had a rate above 20 percent. Now, over 30 percent of adults are obese, including nearly 17 percent of children ages two to 19 and more than eight percent of children ages two to five alone. Kansas currently has the 22nd highest and Missouri has the 17th highest obesity rates in American adults.

Obesity Prevention Efforts

Efforts to prevent and reduce obesity over the past decade have made a difference–stabilizing rates of obesity is an accomplishment. Investing in effective programs has led to results. However, more work is needed before the damage done can be reversed and prevented. The key to reversing these trends is to prevent children from becoming overweight by creating policies to promote better nutrition and physical activity.

Other suggestions include expanding health care coverage for preventing and treating obesity; making healthy affordable food and safe places to be active more accessible in neighborhoods.

Diabetes and Obesity

Kansas and Missouri were among the eight states with increased rates of Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity. Missouri had a diabetes rate of 11.1 percent, while in Kansas the figure was 10.3 percent. Diabetes rates have been steadily increasing for 20 years and have doubled over that time period in Kansas. The same is true in Missouri, except for a one-year drop in 2013.

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