New report paints grim picture of American obesity

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - In a state by state ranking, Texas was among the worst in the nation when it comes to obesity with a projection that nearly 60 percent of residents will be obese by the year 2030.

This is according to a new report "F As In Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future," released by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which looked at the potential impact of the obesity crisis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of Texas adults are considered obese. That number is expected to climb 57 percent by 2030.

Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health said, "So by 2030, we could be seeing an extra 2.8 million new cases of type 2 diabetes, another 5.6 million new cases of coronary heart disease and stroke."

Lan Bentsen, president of Shape Up Houston added, "It would break the state's budget. It would take too many people out of the workforce. We simply cannot afford that."

Shape Up Houston is a nonprofit organization challenging Houstonians to get healthy by following the program's mantra of "Little Change, Big Results."

Bentsen explained, "When you're taking (the food) in, are you burning it off or is some of it sticking around? So if you can get a little more exercise, eat a little less, drop the chips, drop the soft drinks out of there, get the fried foods out, all of these will make a big difference in a hurry. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to your family and you owe it to your community."

The obesity forecast underscored the need for a community wide transformation.

Assistant Vice President and Deputy Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health Group Michelle Larkin explained, "Making sure that kids in school have access and are being served healthier foods and that we're going a step further to make sure that the snacks and beverages are available in school are also healthier, that we're helping communities to be active places for the people to live, learn, work and play there."

Another suggestion from researchers, try to reduce your body mass index by just five percent.

Levi said, "If Texas achieved that goal, it could save $54 billion, that's billion with a B, by 2030 in cumulative health care cost savings, saving hundreds of thousands of people from type 2 diabetes and heart disease and stroke."

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