Delaware now ranks 21st on a new list of the most obese states in the nation.
The 8th annual “F as in Fat” report sets Delaware’s adult obesity rate at 28 percent. That’s nearly twice the state’s rate 15 years ago when Delaware’s obesity rate was just 15.2 percent.
In addition to obesity, chronic health problems related to weight gain have increased in Delaware as well. Delaware’s diabetes rate is now 8.4 percent compared to 5.4 percent in 1995. The state’s hypertension rate is now 29.4 percent compared to 21.8 percent fifteen years ago.
The report was put together by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. TFAH Executive Director Jeff Levi says the national weight gain has dramatically increased over the past decade-and-a-half: “Today, the state with the lowest adult obesity rate would have had the highest rate in 1995.” He says, “we can’t afford to ignore the impact obesity has on our health and corresponding health care spending.”
While the state population’s waistline is growing, there were some discrepancies in obesity rates along racial lines. The adult obeisty rate for African Americans in Delaware was 42.5 percent, well above the state average. Adult Latinos in Delaware had an obesity rate of 31.5 percent, while whites had a rate of 26 percent.
The rate also split depending on economic and education status: college graduates had a lower rate (21.5%) than those that didn’t graduate (33%). Adults that earn less than $15,000 per year were more obese (33%) than those that earn $50,000 or more per year (21.5%).
The purpose of the report is to urge policymakers and the food and beverage industry to take steps to reverse what the report calls the obesity epidemic.