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Obesity report: When it's A-OK to come in last

September 2, 2008
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - When it comes to being thin, only one other state is slimmer than Hawaii.

The new national report - ''F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America, 2008'' - ranks island residents the least obese, except for Colorado.

The report released earlier this month in Washington said Hawaii's adult obesity rate is 20.7 percent, compared with Mississippi, which had the highest rate at 31.7 percent.

Colorado led the nation for skinny people, with an obesity rate of 18.4 percent. However, Coloradans are getting fatter. The state had a statistically significant increase for two years in a row, while Hawaii's didn't.

Mississippi was followed for fatness by West Virginia, 30.6 percent, and Alabama, 30.1 percent.

The ''F as in Fat'' report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a follow-up analysis of the annual Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rankings are based on three years of data, 2005 through 2007, which are averaged for each state's obesity rate.

Adult obesity rates rose in 37 states in the past year, the report said. Rates rose for a second consecutive year in 24 states and for a third consecutive year in 19 states. Hawaii had a small increase, but it was rated statistically insignificant. No state saw a decrease.

''America's future depends on the health of our country. The obesity epidemic is lowering our productivity and dramatically increasing our health care costs,'' trust Executive Director Jeff Levi said.

''Our analysis shows that we're not treating the obesity epidemic with the urgency it deserves,'' he said. ''Even though communities have started taking action, considering the scope of the problem, the country's response has been severely limited. For significant change to happen, combating obesity must become a national priority.''

Rates of Type 2 diabetes, a disease typically associated with obesity, increased in 26 states last year but did not grow in Hawaii.

However, Hawaii ranks 24th highest in Type 2 diabetes, with 7.7 percent of the population affected, and it ranks 30th highest for hypertension, the report said.

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