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Growing by the pound

September 13, 2009
by Emily Bregel
Chattanooga Times Free Press

Less than 20 years ago, not a single state had an obesity rate above 20 percent. Today, almost two-thirds of states have obesity rates above 25 percent, according to data compiled by the nonprofit Trust for America's Health.

These rising obesity rates are weighing down the nation's health care system. The obesity epidemic accounts for nearly one-tenth of health care spending in the United States.

In Tennessee alone medical spending on obesity totaled $1.8 billion in 2004, the most recent data available, and in Georgia $2.1 billion was spent in 2004 for preventive, diagnostic and treatment services related to obesity, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

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