The Grades Are in and We Got an F – As in Fat

The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) just released its annual report, F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America and once again we have failed to make the grade.

The report shows that in the past year adult obesity rates have increased in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state. In addition, the report shows the percentage of obese or overweight children is at or above 30 percent in 30 states.

For the third year in a row North Carolina has risen up the charts and now has the 12th highest rate of adult obesity in the nation, at 28.3 percent. Mississippi had the highest rate of adult obesity at 32.5 percent, making this the fifth year in a row that the state topped the list. Four states now have rates above 30 percent, including Mississippi , Alabama (31.2 percent), West Virginia (31.1 percent) and Tennessee (30.2 percent). Colorado continues to have the lowest percentage of obese adults at 18.9.

In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. In 1980, the national average for adult obesity was 15 percent and childhood obesity rates have more than tripled since 1980. The trend is not good.
The report once again makes it annual call for a National Strategy to “Combat Obesity.”

For years we’ve been “fighting fat” and “battling the bulge” and now we’re “waging war on obesity.” This strategy is obviously not working and it’s no surprise. Words like “fight”, “combat”, and “war” naturally imply struggle, conflict and adversity. Approaching weight loss with this attitude sets the stage for a losing battle by creating unneeded stress and anxiety. This stress and anxiety can in fact cause hormonal changes that actually make weight loss physiologically more difficult.

Obesity is not an advisary that will draw on all the “will power” we can muster in order to defeat. Obesity and the diseases associated with it such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and many cancers are side effects of unhealthy behavior. It’s time for us to change our attitude and in turn our behavior.

The only way we’re going to reverse this trend is to change our attitude and realize we don’t have to live a life of struggle, deprivation and sacrifice in order to make healthy choices. Instead of “fighting fat” and “battling bulge” let’s “welcome wellness” and “embrace activity.” Say no to war and love your body by feeding it nutritious and great tasting whole foods including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and getting plenty of physical exercise. If we all do this the result will be a leaner, healthier, and more productive America.