Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Report: Nearly half of all Utahns will be overweight by 2030

Utah's obesity rate has doubled in the past 20 years and is set to double yet again in the next 20 years if the collective body mass index doesn't shrink.

Regardless of the projection, the state stayed the 6th least fat state in the nation, according to the latest obesity report, released Tuesday by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"We know how to prevent this, we know how to reverse this course if we take the steps that are proven to make a difference," said Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health.

The percentage of overweight or obese individuals increased in every state since 2010, although specific populations within some states showed some progress.

Utah's rate increased 1 percent in a year, with 24.4 percent of the population currently overweight or obese. Based on the current trajectory, it is projected that by 2030, Utah's rate will reach 46.4 percent.

The report states that if everyone in Utah reduced their body mass index by 5 percent, the state could save more than $2 billion by 2020. In addition, lives would be spared from type 2 diabetes, obesity-related cancers, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis.

Increasing obesity rates across the country are leading to decreased economic productivity, higher death rates and billions spent on rising health care costs, according to the report. Deseret News

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