Texas has the 14th highest adult obesity rate in the nation and the seventh highest obesity rate for kids age 10 to 17, according to a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Texas continues to struggle with obesity both among adults and children, with both groups ranked among the worst in the nation, a new national study has found.
One in three Texas adults and nearly one in five children in the state were considered obese last year, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study called “The State of Obesity,” which analyzes compiled data on the national and state level.
Texas adults had the 14th highest rate of obesity in the U.S., but the state’s children ages 10-17 were ranked seventh highest in obesity, the research found. Among high school students, the obesity rate was the fifth highest in the nation in 2017.
“Childhood obesity is a significant problem in Texas, just like it is in the rest of the country,” said Jamie Bussel, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We’re also still seeing major racial and ethnic disparities, with rates noticeably higher among black and Hispanic youth in Texas than among white youth. We need leaders at all levels, in Texas and nationally, to step up efforts to help all children grow up at a healthy weight.”
There was some good news as the obesity rate went down among 2- to 4-year-olds enrolled in WIC, the nutritional program for low-income pregnant women, new mothers and their children up to age 5. The obesity rate for young children in Texas dropped from 16.9 percent to 14.9 percent between 2010 and 2014, the latest year the information was available.
Obesity among Texas adults is highest for those between age 45 and 64, and African-Americans and Hispanics had significantly higher rates than white, the study showed. Men also had slightly higher rates than women.
The racial disparity played out nationwide as black youth had nearly double the rate of obesity, at 22.5 percent, compared with white youth, at 12.5 percent.
Among adults, West Virginia had the highest obesity rate of 38.1 percent, and Colorado had the lowest at 22.6 percent. According to the most recent data, adult obesity rates exceed 35 percent in seven state and more than 30 percent in 29 states.
The problem has been linked to a host of health problems, including diabetes, hypertension and some cancers.
In Texas, the percentage of adults with diabetes is 11.9 percent, making it the nation’s 10th worst. Last year about one in three Texas adults suffered from hypertension, putting in the middle range of other states.
But if current trends continue, the number of adults with obesity-related heart disease is expected to climb in Texas fivefold by 2030, and the number of cancer cases linked to obesity will more than double.
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