60 percent of adult West Virginians could be obese by 2030, report says
September 18, 2012 ·
A new report paints a grim picture about the future of the state’s health. The “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2012” report says unless things change, more than half of West Virginia’s adult residents could be obese in less than 20 years.
According to the report, West Virginia currently has the third highest percentage of obese adults in the country at more than 30 percent, but that number is expected to climb to 60 percent if current trends continue.
The report, reveals that little more than 32 percent of adults in the state were obese in 2011.
The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the study.
Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, says getting young people more physically active now could help stop obesity from spreading.
"This isn’t a huge change in people’s lives; we’re not talking about a total transformation, we’re talking about 20 minutes a day, making a huge difference in people’s health trajectories," Levi said.
"Integrating 20 minutes a day of physical activity into a school system, is not hard to do. It can be having kids walk to school more often; there are all sorts of ways to accomplish that goal."
The study argues that health care costs to treat diseases related to obesity will also be rising significantly over the same time frame.
Michelle Larkin, the assistant vice president and deputy director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Group, says if the state can lower its average body mass index by only five percent, the state could save money on health care costs high.
"What we’re seeing is that the places that are taking comprehensive approaches to combating obesity and preventing the disease are seeing success and seeing the numbers turn around," Larkin said.
The report’s authors recommend legislation geared toward healthy eating for children, as well as increased investment in obesity-prevention programs.