The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health have just jointly released their 14th annual State of Obesity report, and we’re happy to relay that it contains some good news. The report (https://stateofobesity.org/) is on an interactive website and it’s worth taking a look, especially at the stats that are specific to the state or states where you practice!
A few trends have emerged since last year’s 2016 report. Encouragingly, obesity rates are slowing down overall. We at Healthy Bytes think it’s no accident that this is happening concurrently with policies promoting preventive healthcare measures, including better nutritional counseling insurance benefits! The report's authors seem to agree with this take, stating the following as one of their policy recommendations:
“Expand healthcare coverage and care, including continued Medicare and Medicaid coverage of the full range of obesity prevention, treatment, and management services.”
Since the annual reports began to be released, multiple states each year showed increasing rates of obesity. This year, only four states showed an increase in their adult obesity rates, one state showed a decrease, and the remaining states held on at their previous rates. This is definitely positive news and indicates that the public health tide may be slowly beginning to turn. But this news should also be tempered with the fact that obesity rates as they currently exist are still high. 46 states have an adult obesity rate of more than 25%, and West Virginia is the highest with an alarming 37.7% of its adult residents being categorized as obese.
The State of Obesity report helps illustrate that impacting public health takes serious time and commitment -- a bit like an individual’s health journey writ large. We should be encouraged by this year’s update, and also more motivated than ever to double down on our efforts to provide quality and accessible health care.
Are you surprised by any of the report’s updates? Share your thoughts in the comments!