Obesity has become one of the most devastating causes for disease and death in the United States, though it is highly preventable. While tackling obesity rates is not always easy, four states are making waves to combat the problem.
The rate of obesity in America is finally starting to see a small slump after nearly three decades. Since the 1980s, the rate of obesity in children tripled and was beginning to affect children as young as 2-years-old.
As fast food restaurants became increasingly popular and served inexpensive food, it only compounded to the problem that became an epidemic. However, many states have begun to truly see a rise in the fall of obesity across the board for both adults and children.
Reducing obesity isn’t something that can be done overnight, but with properly placed programs and plans that reach the vast majority of people, new goals can be met and can be accomplished over time.
The state has a new initiative that focuses on healthy lifestyles in young children.
States like Minnesota have created new programs like the Statewide Health Improvement Program that work on incorporating healthy lifestyles for young children. This program has extended its efforts to schools and grocery stores to help parents make better choices when choosing foods for their family.
Families use a scoring system to keep track of things like caloric intake to ensure that everyone isn’t going above or below their daily needs. This has allowed for not only obesity rates to drop, but also for children to gain more energy from healthy foods.
Focusing on smart food choices in children and families has been the key to their success.
California is yet another state that created initiatives to try and help the rates of obesity slow down. They adjusted snack standards in schools in 2007 and experienced improvements in the amount of calories that were being consumed among school-aged children. Los Angeles County in particular saw one of the biggest changes in obesity due to these changes.
More effort is being made by states to help incorporate healthy foods and exercise into everyday life. Those states that are leading the example for the rest of the nation are also partnering with larger corporations and businesses that cater to fighting obesity in both adults and in children.
A focus on food and movement keeps this mountain state healthy.
Comparatively speaking, Montana’s population is much lower than quite a few states but they were ranked as the seventh lowest rate of adult obesity in the nation in 2015. They have changed policies on a statewide level, and work with a Farm to School Program which helps improve the overall foods consumed by children in every district.
Programs must be constantly enforced in order to properly work, and while there are limitations to what can be accomplished per each effort, it has still proven to at least start important conversation. Montana has noticed the vast changes being made by switching out food options at school, and building more accessible bike and walking trails for people to get out and move around.
The state has seen almost a 3% drop in its obesity rate.
Since obesity became more severe and widespread, the rate at which it affected people has been tracked and researched by various scientists and organizations. Reports like “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America” provide insight into each state to record if improvements or not have been made. In states like Ohio, the rate of obesity dropped from 32.6 percent down to 29.8 percent in adults.
While the percentage is not a large difference-generally speaking- it is still quite a great feat as Ohio was ranked as the 26th-highest in the whole of the United States. Ohio is taking obesity seriously, and also initiated a $2 million budgeted program to create a healthy food initiative. As people become more educated in tackling a different mindset about their health, their chances for success increase tremendously in breaking the cycle of obesity.
While obesity has seen more decline in recent years, there are always going to be struggles. Issues that arise are plenty, and yet there is still hope to start changing that. A number of states still encounter problems that are harder to solve, like helping families in poorer areas, as they don’t have many of the accessible foods that other counties might have.
Source: American Nutrition Association
They tend to experience food deserts more often-the term used for areas in which things like fruits and vegetables are almost non-existent in local grocery stores- and presents a larger issue to handle. Though battling obesity is a major concern, state representatives and organizations are working hard everyday to ensure that no matter where someone lives, they can have the same opportunities and education to improve on healthy lifestyle choices as anyone else.