The nation is getting larger, and not in a good way. In the United States, over one in three adults and one in six children are obese. According to the Center for Disease Control, 29.6% of Georgia’s population has a body mass index of 30 or higher, meeting the CDC’s requirements to be labeled ‘obese.’
This isn’t just a local phenomenon. Nearly every state in the nation has at least a 20% obesity rate with many reaching much higher. While the state of Georgia is not the biggest in the country, it is home to a relatively high percentage of those who are. Internationally, the United States is consistently ranked within the top 5 of most obese industrialized nations in the world. Additionally, the prevalence of obesity is projected to grow, not only in the United States, but also in countries such as Mexico, England, and Canada.
Despite more and more initiatives to fight adult and childhood obesity, the rates have continued to rise in recent years. This can be attributed in part to the lower costs of unhealthy foods, increased portion sizes, as well to more sedentary lifestyles. Stress, the environment, genetics, sleep (or lack thereof), as well as certain health conditions and medications also play a role in the growing rates of obesity.
Looking at obesity rates by socioeconomic class, it’s clear that those in lower classes are more likely to be obese than their upper class counterparts. If one were to look at it by education level,
Not all states have policies to fight childhood obesity. For example, all states have requirements for public schools and other early childhood education institutions to include time for daily physical activity. However, only slightly over half of the states are required to have the meals provided meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This often leads to unhealthier food choices, which in turn can lead to larger waistlines.