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Oregon Has Least Obese Children, Mississippi the Most

It’s really no surprise that the obesity rates in the U.S. vary significantly from state to state, or region by region. We have a big country, with many traditions and cultures. Among these are different types of food and eating habits.

While Jamie Oliver tried to change the food culture in Americas fattest city, Huntington, West Virginia, whole states are leading the charge towards obesity catastrophe.

While the Southeast has long been a part of what has been called the Bible Belt, it has a new and foreboding nickname: The Stroke Belt. Residents in the Southeast are heavier and sicker than the rest of the country.

Then I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the children in this region are also worst off with their weight. Mississippi children

Dr. Gopal K. Singh and his colleagues at the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in Rockville, Maryland compared changes in rates of overweight and obesity from 2003 to 2007 in each state. Overweight and obesity ticked up only one percentage point, 32 percent and 16 percent respectively.

But, when the researchers looked at states individually, certain ones stood out. In 2003, 37 percent of 10- to 17-year-olds in Mississippi were overweight and 18 percent were obese. But, by 2007 those rates jumped to 45 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

On the flip side, Oregon had the fewest obese kids, at just under 10 percent during the study period. The researchers aren’t exactly sure why Oregon is so successful in keeping child obesity rates at a relatively low level. But, I know as a new resident in the Portland area, the city is very good at supporting cyclists and providing safe walking paths. In fact, biking is an entire subculture here.

(via: Reuters)

May 4th, 2010

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