Jun 29, 2010 11:38 AM by Melissa Canone
WASHINGTON (AP) - Most parents think childhood obesity is a
problem. Just not their kids' problem.
An annual obesity report by two public health groups includes
more bad news - obesity rates increased in 28 states last year -
and also a new survey of parental attitudes about the issue. The
survey shows an increasing awareness of obesity and its threat to
public health, though that knowledge has yet to translate into
"This report shows that the country has taken bold steps to
address the obesity crisis in recent years, but the nation's
response has yet to fully match the magnitude of the problem,"
said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's
Health, which writes the annual report with the Robert Wood Johnson
The new survey shows that 84 percent of parents believe their
children are at a healthy weight, even though nearly a third of
children and teens are considered obese or overweight. Still, 80
percent of those polled by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and
American Viewpoint said childhood obesity is a significant and
Obesity in adults is defined as a body mass index of 30 or more,
while overweight is a body mass index between 25 and 30.
Mississippi continued its six-year reign as the country's
fattest state in the study's yearly rankings, along with the
highest rates of physical inactivity and hypertension. The state
also has the second highest rate of diabetes.
Last year, four states - Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and
West Virginia - had obesity rates of over 30 percent. This year,
four more states have that distinction, bringing the total to eight
states with rates over 30 percent. Those states were Louisiana,
Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The District of Columbia was the only area to see a decline in
adult obesity rates.
The rise in obesity rates has been sharp in the last 20 years.
More than two-thirds of states now have adult obesity rates above
25 percent. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent.
The report also details racial disparities in obesity, showing
that obesity rates for blacks and Latinos were higher than for
whites in 40 states and the District of Columbia.