Two out of every three Iowa adults is obese or overweight, according to a new national report, ranking the state 12th in the U.S. for poorest health — the same as a year ago. Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, says efforts are well underway to reverse the trend and she predicts we’ll start seeing results sooner, not later.
She says it’s easy to live healthier. “People don’t have to go out and do a programmed physical aerobics program for 30 minutes or an hour or two hours a day,” Miller-Meeks says.
“Just eating less, a plant slant to your diet, and trying to get in 30 minutes of exercise a day.” The report from the Trust for America’s Health says Iowa’s obesity rate was steady in 2012. It pegged the statewide obesity rate at 30.4 percent while another 34.3- percent of Iowans are overweight.
She says obesity is a “major health concern.” The state has launched multiple programs which Miller-Meeks says aim to spread the message that exercise is vital — and we can all carve out a portion of our day for it. “Even if it’s walking, parking your car further from the building that you’re entering, taking the stairs one flight instead of taking an elevator, all of those things are going to help us to get people healthier and to address the needs and concerns we have,” Miller-Meeks says.
“Not just responding to a survey, but because we want people to be healthier in our state.” A federal report issued a few weeks ago found a slight drop in obesity rates among some of the youngest Iowans in low-income households.
“We saw a decrease in the WIC population, two- to four-year-olds,” Miller-Meeks says. “That’s extremely important. We’re very pleased with that and the reason is because if you’re obese when you’re young, you tend to be obese when you get older.”
The report from the Trust for America’s Health is called, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future.” It finds Iowa is one of 13 states with adult obesity rates above 30-percent.