Texas Obesity Rates Continues to Climb, Now 10th in the Country

The Texas obesity rate continues to rise along with its ranking, according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The obesity rate is now 30.4 percent, up .3 percent from 2011. The state is tied for 10th place among those with the highest obesity rate. Last year, Texas was ranked 12th. Mississippi has the highest rate of obesity, at 34.9 percent.

Adult obesity rates now exceed 30 percent in a dozen states, according to an analysis of the CDC data by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health. The two organizations plan to release the 2012 edition of F as in Fat later this summer.

According to 2011 data, 36 percent of Texas Hispanics were obese—one of four states where Hispanics had an obesity rate that topped 35 percent. Texas blacks had an obesity rate of 38.5 percent. The state also ranked seventh in the rate of child obesity.

Obesity-related medical costs accounted for $147 billion in 2008, or nearly 10 percent of total medical spending, according to a 2009 study in Health Affairs. Most of that spending was for treatment of obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes.

Obesity is the fastest-growing public-health issue the United States has ever faced.

It’s expected to account for more than 20 percent of healthcare spending by 2018. About two-thirds of obesity risk is genetic, but the condition does not happen without poor health habits.

Smoking rates have been halved and medical advances have increased longevity and lessened disability However, obesity threatens to undo the progress.

In the early 1960s, about one out of three U.S. adults were overweight, and fewer than one out of seven were obese. By 2008, 68 percent of Americans were overweight, and half of those were obese.

Obesity may overtake smoking as the greatest U.S. population health risk threat if trends persists.

Steve Jacob is editor of D Healthcare Daily and author of the new book Health Care in 2020: Where Uncertain Reform, Bad Habits, Too Few Doctors and Skyrocketing Costs Are Taking Us. He can be reached at steve.jacob@dmagazine.com.

Posted in News, Wellness.