As you’re formulating New Year’s resolutions, a year-end report from Iowa’s top public health official finds obesity among adult Iowans spiked in the past year, putting the state among the worst four states for obesity rates.
Gerd Clabaugh, director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, says in recent years, it seemed like adult obesity rates were beginning to level off.
“A year ago when I was here I shared this chart with you and I was looking at 2015 and 2016 at that point and I was saying, ‘I hope we’ve turned the corner and I hope we can bend the curve’,” Clabaugh says.
However, the adult obesity rate jumped from 32-percent in 2016 to over 36-percent in 2017, the steepest increase in over a decade. It’s a very unfortunate trend, he says, as obesity can lead to a host of other health troubles.
Clabaugh says they’re working to formulate a plan.
“We have to be focusing on kids for the long term,” he says. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to ignore the adults and we’re beginning to think internally about what more we can do to focus the resources of the agency around adults’ physical activity and nutrition as well.”
Reports show obesity is a problem in virtually every town in Iowa and every income and social sector. Obesity drives an estimated $149 billion annually in health care spending, and another $66 billion in lowered economic productivity.
Also, one in three young adults is ineligible for military service, due to being overweight, posing a national security vulnerability.
(Thanks to Katarina Sostaric, Iowa Public Radio)