Healthcare Economy

This State Has The Most Child Obesity

Roberto Michel / iStock

Obesity is among the most serious health problems in America. Approximately 40% of adults over 20 are obese, according to the CDC. The problem is equality pressing among American children. The state with the highest obesity rate is West Virginia, which is 26% among people 10 to 17 years old, according to Playground Equipment.

Most states with high obesity rates are poor, with low household incomes. And almost all are in the South. Kentucky follows West Virginia at 25.5%, Louisiana at 24%, Mississippi at 23.1%, Tennessee at 22.5%, Alabama at 22.1%, and North Carolina at 21.6%.

Each state with high child obesity rates has two other things in common. Most have high rates of sugary beverage consumption, which stands at least once a week for children ages 1 to 5. In many of these states, that rate is above 65%. Additionally, most eat very few fruits and vegetables. Among the same age group, the highest obesity state rates had over 50% who ate vegetables less than once a day.

According to Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Obesity can harm nearly every system in a child’s body–heart and lungs, muscles and bones, kidneys and digestive tract, as well as the hormones that control blood sugar and puberty–and can also take a heavy social and emotional toll.”

The U.S. child obesity rate is the 12th highest in the world, which means the problem will be challenging to address and impossible to eradicate.

If obese children tend to become obese adults, which the study and other research show tend to be the case, the problem may end up being passed from generation to generation.

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