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Missouri Obesity Rate Falls, but Remains High According to New Report

Fast food

A recent state by state report on nationwide obesity rates by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that obesity rates for Missouri in 2014 decreased but remain high.

The obesity rate in Missouri fell two percent in 2014 and at 30.2 percent leaves Missouri in the top 20 states with the highest obesity rates and five percent lower than Arkansas, the state with the highest obesity rate. 

Obesity is associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Albert Lang from the trust for America’s Health says this makes obesity a matter of great concern.

“These are all things that can be long term and debilitating which can really change someone’s quality of life,” he said. “It makes it really hard for you to go to work, hard for you to perform at work depending on what kind of job you have.”

Missouri is also falling behind on healthy teenage and young adult obesity rates. Fifteen percent of high school students in Missouri are obese which is among the top 10 highest rates in the country and 18 percent of college students in Missouri are obese.

Lang says the most effective way to deal with the obesity problem is to focus on prevention and target childhood obesity.

“It’s really huge to start and make sure the children in the day cares are getting active,” he said. “They aren’t sitting in front of the screen for eight hours, they aren’t drinking a lot of sugar, sweets and beverages, they’re being active, they’re drinking water, and they’re eating healthy.”

Adults are encouraged to make small changes towards a healthier lifestyle. Lang says that even if that does not lead to weight loss, it can prevent further weight gain and the development of obesity-related diseases.