Adult Obesity Rate Inches Up in FL

Sep 9, 2014
Originally published on September 5, 2014 9:24 am

Florida has the 37th highest obesity rate among adults, up from its last ranking of 40th, according to a report from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 
 

Florida's increase from 25.2 percent in 2012 to 26.4 percent in 2013 is not statistically significant, according to the annual report that's now named “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America." For the past decade, it was called the "F as in FAT" report.

"I think the F was perceived as failure,”  said Rich Hamburg, deputy director of Trust For America's Health. “I think we've moved past that."

Hamburg said that over the years, there have been no major changes in rankings among the states.

"So that means no one's ignoring all that needs to be done and no one's doing anything dramatically different than other states," he said. "We see some clear movement in the right direction in some states, in the wrong direction for others, but no one's jumped from 50th to 30th or anything like that."

Mississippi and West Virginia are tied for the highest rate, at 35.1 percent. Hamburg said Florida still has a long way to go in the fight against obesity. 

"The overall rate [in Florida] is nowhere near where we want to be. We're looking at more than one quarter of the population that is obese. And over 60 percent obese and overweight," he said.  

Still, he noted that for years, all 50 states were increasing in rates; in 2013, obesity rates increased in just six states. 

“But the bad news is we're talking about bending the obesity curve, we're getting to the spot where things are leveling off and we're going to certainly look to see some progress in some decreases in the coming years in Florida and other states," Hamburg said.

Something else to watch for, according to Hamburg: Florida's baby boomers, who have the highest obesity rate of any age group, at about one-third. 

--Health News Florida is part of WUSF Public Media. Contact Lottie Watts at 813-974-8705 (desk) or e-mail at lottiewatts@wusf.org. For more health news, visit HealthNewsFlorida.org.