WCBE

Ohio Ranks 8th In Nation On Adult Obesity

Sep 21, 2015

Nearly a third of adult Ohioans are considered obese, according to a survey from the Trust for America's Health.

Alison Holm has details.  

Ohio ranks 8th in the nation for adult obesity. The percentage has doubled in the last 20 years to 32.6% percent in 2014 from 16% in 1994.  And disease rates are rising as well.  The survey places Ohio in the top 10 states for diabetes; in the top 20 for hypertension, both obesity-related illnesses.  Ohio Department of health administrator Dr. Andrew Wapner says race, income and education play roles in obesity and health issues.

 "We've seen a difference in higher rates in the non-Hispanic black population... we do see a significant difference in people who live in poverty versus those who don't.  And we also see significant in those who have less than a high school education, compared to those with a college education.  and these are disparities that have been consistent across the country" And while the rates for childhood obesity have leveled off in recent years, Ohio still scores poorly. The state still ranks 14th for obesity in kids age 10-17.  There is some positive news in the relatively low rate of obesity in young children in low-income families; In that category Ohio ranks 35th in the nation.  Wapner says obesity is a complicated issue, and the state is approaching it on several fronts.  Working to expand the availability of fresh food to low-income people through farmers markets, increasing opportunities for walking, biking and other forms of exercise, and increasing education through schools, clinics and other neighborhood partners. "All of these things, when you put them together, you develop more and more opportunities where the healthy choice is the easy choice."