South Carolina now fifth
heaviest state according to
new report from Trust for America's Health
Carolinians just continue to pack on the pounds with a new report
showing the state’s adult obesity rate is now fifth in the U.S., up from
eighth place last year.
In a tie with Tennessee, some 27.8 percent of S.C. adults are obese, according to a report by
Trust for America's Health (TFAH),
This year's report, for the first time, looked at
obesity rates among children ages 10 to 17. The Palmetto State ranked
seventh highest at 18.9 percent.
South Carolina's adult obesity numbers have
worsened with each report by the TFAH. In 2004, the state ranked 13th
with an obesity rate of 24.5 percent.
The fourth annual F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in
America, 2007 report found that adult obesity rates rose in 31
states in the U.S. over the past year, and adult obesity rates now
exceed 25 percent in 19 states.
state experienced a decrease in obesity. Eight-five percent of Americans
believe obesity is an epidemic, according to a public opinion survey
also featured in the report.
Mississippi topped the list with the highest rate of adult obesity in
the country for the third year in a row, and is the first state to reach
a rate of over 30 percent (at 30.6 percent).
Ten of the 15 states with the highest rates of adult obesity are located
in the South. Colorado was the leanest state again this year, however,
its adult obesity rate increased over the past year (from 16.9 to 17.6
The report also finds that rates of overweight children (ages 10 to 17)
ranged from a high of 22.8 percent in Washington, D.C. to a low of 8.5
percent in Utah. Eight of the ten states with the highest rates of
overweight children were in the South.
"There has been a breakthrough in terms of drawing attention to the
obesity epidemic. Now, we need a breakthrough in terms of policies and
results," said Jeff Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH. "Poor
nutrition and physical inactivity are robbing America of our health and
The F as in Fat report contains rankings of state obesity rates
and a review of federal and state government policies aimed at reducing
or preventing obesity.
Other Key Findings
24.8 percent of
adults in South Carolina report that they do not engage in any
physical activity. The national average is 22 percent.
South Carolina is
one of 17 states that require their school lunches, breakfasts, and
snacks to meet higher nutritional standards than the U.S. Department
of Agriculture (USDA) requires.
South Carolina is
one of 22 states that have set nutritional standards for foods sold
in vending machines, a la carte, in school stores, or in bake sales
in schools, and the state is one of 26 states that limit when and
where these foods may be sold on school property beyond federal
South Carolina is
one of 16 states that screen students' body mass index (BMI) or
fitness status and confidentially provide information to parents or
Public Opinion Survey
The report also contains a national opinion survey conducted for TFAH by
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Inc. from July 12-16, 2007 (with a
+/-3.1 percent margin of error). Key findings about government's role,
school lunches, physical education and body measurement include:
of Americans believe that the government should have a role in
addressing the obesity crisis. Majorities strongly support
government working on proposals to expand education programs about
healthy living, provide low-cost access to exercise programs, and
reduce the marketing of unhealthy foods.
of parents with children under 18 believe lunches provided in
schools are not nutritious enough. Sixty-six percent of Americans
rated proposals to establish higher nutrition in school lunches as
two-thirds of Americans believe children do not participate in
adequate amounts of physical activity during the school day or
engage in enough physical activity outside of school. More than 70
percent of Americans rated proposals to increase physical education
in schools as very useful.
Sixty percent of
Americans favor a proposal to measure students' BMI annually and
confidentially provide this information to parents or guardians.
TFAH recommends a comprehensive approach for helping individuals make
healthy choices including support from families, communities, schools,
employers, the food and beverage industries, health professionals, and
government at all levels. Some key recommendations include:
Think big. The
federal government should develop and implement a National Strategy
to Combat Obesity. This plan should involve every federal government
agency, define clear roles and responsibilities for states and
localities, and engage private industry and community groups.
choices easy choices. Federal, state, and local governments should
develop and implement policies that give Americans the tools they
need to make it easier to engage in the recommended levels of
physical activity and choose healthy foods, ranging from improving
food served and increasing opportunities for physical activity in
schools to requiring restaurants and food companies to provide
better and more readily accessible information about the nutritional
content of their products to securing more safe, affordable
recreation places for all Americans.
Improve your bottom
line. Federal, state, and local governments should work with private
employers and insurers to ensure that every working American has
access to a workplace wellness program.
on how to promote healthy choices. Public health officials have
identified a number of strategies to help encourage people to make
healthier decisions about nutrition and activity, however, much more
research needs to be done about how to effectively promote healthier
The full report with complete state rankings in all categories is
available on TFAH's Web site at
The report was supported by a grant from
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
State-By-State Adult Obesity Rankings
Note: 1 = Highest rate
of adult obesity, 51 = lowest. Rankings are based on combining three
years of data (2004-2006) from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention's Behavioral Risk Surveillance System to "stabilize" data for
comparison purposes. States with statistically significant (p<0.05)
increases for one year are noted with an asterisk (*), states with
statistically significant increases for two years in a row are noted
with two asterisks (**). Additional information about methodologies and
confidence intervals are available in the report. Individuals with a
body mass index (BMI) (a calculation based on weight and height ratios)
of 30 or higher are considered obese.
Mississippi**; 2: West Virginia*; 3: Alabama; 4: Louisiana; 5 (tie):
South Carolina**, Tennessee*; 7: Kentucky**; 8: Arkansas; 9 (tie):
Indiana, Michigan*, Oklahoma**; 12 (tie): Missouri**, Texas; 14:
Georgia; 15: Ohio**; 16: Alaska; 17: North Carolina**; 18: Nebraska**;
19: North Dakota; 20 (tie): Iowa, South Dakota**; 22: Wisconsin**; 23
(tie): Pennsylvania, Virginia*; 25 (tie): Illinois, Maryland**; 27:
Kansas*; 28: Minnesota; 29: Delaware**; 30: Oregon**; 31 (tie): Idaho,
Washington**; 33: Maine*; 34: Florida**; 35: Wyoming**; 36: California;
37: Nevada*; 38 (tie): New Hampshire**, New York; 40 (tie): D.C., New
Jersey**; 42: New Mexico**; 43: Arizona; 44: Utah; 45: Montana; 46:
Rhode Island**; 47 (tie): Connecticut**, Hawaii*; 49: Vermont; 50:
Massachusetts**; 51: Colorado*.
Overweight Youths Ages 10-17 Rankings
Note: 1 = Highest rate
of overweight youth, 51 = lowest. Rankings are based on the National
Survey of Children's Health, a phone survey of parents with children
ages 10-17 conducted in 2003-04 by the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. Additional information about methodologies and
confidence intervals are available in the report. Children with a body
mass index (BMI) (a calculation based on weight and height ratios) at or
above the 95th percentile for their age are considered overweight.
D.C.; 2: West Virginia; 3: Kentucky; 4: Tennessee; 5: North Carolina; 6:
Texas; 7: South Carolina; 8: Mississippi; 9: Louisiana; 10: New
Mexico; 11: Alabama; 12 (tie): Arkansas, Georgia; 14: Illinois; 15 (tie)
Indiana, Missouri; 17: Oklahoma; 18: New York; 19: Delaware; 20:
Michigan; 21: Florida; 22: Ohio; 23: Oregon; 24: Kansas; 25: Virginia;
26: New Jersey; 27: Massachusetts; 28: Wisconsin; 29 (tie) Hawaii,
Maryland, Pennsylvania; 32: California; 33: New Hampshire; 34: Maine;
35: Iowa; 36: Nevada; 37: Connecticut; 38: Arizona; 39 (tie): North
Dakota, South Dakota; 41 (tie): Nebraska, Rhode Island; 43: Vermont; 44
(tie) Alaska, Montana; 46: Washington; 47 (tie): Idaho, Minnesota; 49:
Colorado; 50: Wyoming; 51: Utah.
Trust for America's
Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving
lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make
disease prevention a national priority.