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New data: one in three Delawareans are obese

New data says one in three Delawareans are obese. The report comes from the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health (TFAH)- analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Delaware Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay says the data is not surprising, but disappointing and concerning. She points out obesity contributes to the state’s high infant and maternal mortality rates.

“What the data are showing is that overweight and obesity and the related chronic diseases are largely contributing to those bad maternal outcomes,” said Rattay.

The report ranks Delaware 18th nationwide with a more than 33 percent obesity rate. Mississippi and West Virginia tied for the highest rate with 39.5 percent. Colorado has the lowest obesity rate with 23 percent. 

According to the report, no state had an adult obesity rate over 35 percent in 2012. And it says in the last five years the rate in Delaware and 32 other states has increased.

“One of the biggest concerns, in addition to the fact that the numbers look like they’re headed in the wrong direction—certainly not in the right direction—is the significant increases that are being seen across the nation among the African American populations,” said Rattay. “That seems to be a prevalent concern across our country.”  

TFAH calls for a list of public policy changes to try to reduce obesity. These include taxes on sugary drinks and expanding food programs. 

Rattay called the results of sugary drink taxes in other states and cities “promising.” She also echoes the report’s findings that obesity rates for children enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) declined from 15.9 percent in 2010 to 13.9 percent in 2016.

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