A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

National report on state of obesity has bad news for KY; we’re in unhealthy top 10 for adults, children

Staff report

The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released their annual report on the state of obesity in America — and the news isn’t good for Kentucky.

Nationwide, the rates are the highest they’ve ever been.

Kentucky is, unfortunately, in the top ten.

Kentucky has the 8th highest rate of obesity among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2017, with a 34.3 percent adult obesity rate.

The state was 7th in 2016, with a rate of 34.2 percent.

For high school students, Kentucky ranks 3rd out of 43 states reporting, with a rate of 20.2 percent, up from 18.5 percent in 2015.

Following is a statement from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky about this report:

“The obesity rate in the Commonwealth has been on a dangerous trajectory for nearly two decades, tracking a national trend that is costing the state billions in health care and lost productivity, and jeopardizing the health of 1.1 million Kentucky adults every year,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

“Shrinking our waistline means reducing diabetes, heart disease and obesity-related cancer, and enjoying a happier, more productive life. Locally, many communities are showing progress, including six that are working with the Foundation under grants to prevent obesity in childhood.

“What we’ve learned through these grants is that it takes a coalition of partners committed to system-wide changes that make better nutrition and increased physical activity easier and more likely for everyone. It’s hard work and it takes long-term commitment, but it’s imperative to getting Kentucky back on track to better health.”

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