Ohio’s obesity rate rising, 1 of 5 states to increase

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio is one of five states to show an increase in its obesity rate, according to government data released this week.

Nearly one of three adults in Ohio is obese, per a telephone survey from the Centers for Disease Control. The state’s obesity rate increased to 32.6 percent in 2014 from 30.4 percent in 2013. Only two states – Minnesota and New Mexico – showed larger increases than Ohio in obesity rates.

The obesity rate has stayed steady in 45 states, according to the survey. Advocacy group Trust for America’s Health has analyzed the data after receiving the survey results.

Top 10 States for Adult Obesity Rate, 2014

  1. Arkansas (35.9 percent)
  2. West Virginia (35.7%)
  3. Mississippi (35.5%)
  4. Louisiana (34.9%)
  5. Alabama (33.5%)
  6. Oklahoma (33.0%)
  7. Indiana (32.7%)
  8. Ohio (32.6%)
  9. North Dakota (32.2%)
  10. South Carolina (32.1%)

“Obesity remains one of the biggest threats to the health of our children and our country,” said Dr. Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health. “If we fail to change the course of the nation’s obesity epidemic, the current generation of young people may be the first in American history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.”

One of the local groups trying to combat childhood obesity is the Mahoning Valley Healthy Kids Coalition, a coalition that includes the Youngstown Central YMCA, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, and schools in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

In July, the William Swanston Children’s Fund gave a $150,000 grant toward the Mahoning Valley Healthy Kids Coalition.

The coalition runs fitness programs for preschool and elementary school children in the region, including its EatPlayGrow™ Fitness Program and Fitness K-5 School Program. The coalition’s programs include “fun games and lessons designed to teach the importance of physical activity.”

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