If obesity is the result of eating too much and exercising too little, how come the states with the lowest income levels are the fattest? You would think that the people with extra cash for fancy cars, gourmet restaurants and rich food would be the tubby ones as a result of an excess of the good life. The debate about a relationship between obesity, low income and lower level education is ongoing.
According to the latest numbers, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina and West Virginia all make the top 10 obesity list (Texas & Kentucky tied for 10th place). The 5 states with the lowest median income all made the list and all 11 states fall in the bottom third. However, it is important to note that no state gets an A grade: Colorado, the state with the lowest obesity rate, still has a population with over 20% of its residents classified as obese.
Obesity in the U.S. is a serious problem.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 33% or about 78 million Americans are currently obese. Obesity is also very expensive and is estimated to cost about $147 billion dollars every year. That works out to $1429 more per year for those who are obese compared to healthy weight individuals. This means that these states have the lowest median income and also have the highest per capita healthcare costs.
There are major risk factors associated with obesity, most of which are considered preventable, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. The average incidence of diabetes in these states is over 11.5%. Stroke, heart disease and cancer rates are also higher than the national average so it is no surprise that the average life expectancy of their residents falls on the low end.
All Americans should be concerned about the obesity epidemic no matter where they live or what their individual health condition is. Health care costs are one of the most serious threats to our future. Water and air quality are not likely to be significant factors. Food is the key and where our focus needs to be. There are foods that are healthy for us and there are foods that are not. Yes, it is really that simple. People need to understand this and pay closer attention to what they are eating. We all have choices and as individuals we need to make the correct ones. It is our personal responsibility.
Education without commercial or special interest bias is needed. However, this is unlikely to happen. Therefore, your only hope is to make it a priority to educate yourself, your family and friends. You need to take control of your own health because no one can or will do it for you. There is plenty of good information available. The TurboCharged program was designed to be a simple and healthy lifestyle that can be followed by anyone regardless of where you live, your income or your education. There are no exceptions or excuses. All you need is a desire to make healthy changes in your life.
Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.