SALT LAKE CITY — In a nation that is steadily growing fatter, Utah remains an outlier of relative good health, with an obesity rate that ranks among the lowest in the nation, especially when it comes to children, according to a report released Thursday.
But that’s no cause for celebration with an extra helping of dessert because Utahns are also gaining weight, just not as much as the rest of the nation, according to the annual “State of Obesity” report produced by the Trust for America’s Health.
Nine states now have obesity rates higher than 35%, and more than half of adults in every state are either overweight or have obesity, the report said.
While at 27.8%, Utah’s obesity rate is significantly lower than Mississippi and West Virginia, where the rate is just under 40%, obesity is on the rise in the general population, with the obesity rate increasing by more than 15% since 2013.
“These latest data shout that our national obesity crisis is getting worse,” said John Auerbach, president and CEO of the Trust for America’s Health. “They tell us that almost 50 years into the upward curve of obesity rates we haven’t yet found the right mix of programs to stop the epidemic. Isolated programs and calls for lifestyle changes aren’t enough.”
What Utah does right
Obesity is more prevalent among minorities and people with lower incomes.
Nearly half of Latino (47%) and black adults (46.8%) had obesity, compared to 37.9% of white and Asian adults, the report said.
Utah’s demographics — the population is more than 90% white, according to the Census Bureau — could account for part of its national ranking, but because the causes of obesity are disparate, there’s much more involved, including the predominant faith group in the state and its promotion of healthy lifestyles.
“We’ve seen that the large number of Mormons in the state have had an influence on behavior because of the religion’s belief about tobacco. I can’t speak to whether that also has contributed to combating or preventing obesity, but it’s worth investigating, because cultural differences impact behavior, too. That may be a factor,” Auerbach said.
https://www.deseret.com/indepth/2019/9/ ... -nutrition
(Come the hell on...If you're going to claim that having a large proportion of Mormons in the state has an influence on eating habits, you also have to accept that it also has an influence on the lack of racial diversity and the high levels of depression).
But it's not all good news...
That data point alone - that Utah has one of the biggest problems with growth in rates of obesity; makes the Church's recent Word Of Wisdom clarification even stranger. Banning the healthiest beverage on the planet (Green Tea), whilst not prohibiting things like soda, is not going to help reduce obesity rate growth in Utah.Utah is among six states that saw a 15% or more increase in obesity between 2013 and 2018. (The others are New Mexico, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri and Florida.)