COLUMBIA — More than 60 percent of adults in Missouri could be obese by 2030, making it the ninth fattest state in the country, according to a new report.
In 2011, Missouri was ranked 12th in the country with an obesity rate of 30.3 percent, according to U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention data cited in the report, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future.”
The study is an annual collaboration between Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization focused on disease prevention, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropic organization devoted solely to the public’s health.
This is the first time the report has included projections of obesity rates and the accompanying rise in disease rates and health care costs. For Missouri, obesity-related health care costs could climb by 13.9 percent.
Obesity can contribute to Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, arthritis and cancer.
States can prevent obesity-related diseases and lower health care costs by reducing the average body mass index (BMI) of their residents by 5 percent by 2030, according to the report. Doing so would save Missouri more than $13 billion on health care costs.
"I think it's amazing the prediction that our obesity rate will be over 60 percent by the year 2030," said Stacia Reilly, community health promotion supervisor for the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services. "That is what we need to take note of and do everything we can to help stop that from happening."
Efforts are already under way in Columbia to promote healthier eating and exercise. Among them are:
- The Unite 4 Health community garden, located next to the Health Department, is a 25-plot garden providing fruits and vegetables to residents of the First Ward. The garden is one result of a four-year, $400,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
- The Columbia Steps Challenge, a 12-week competition that tracks through a pedometer the number of steps participants take. The competition, sponsored by the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation, lasts three months and will end on Dec. 17.
- Eat for Life is a 10-week program offered through MU's Wellness Resource Center. The program teaches participants how to have a healthy relationship with their food and their bodies.
- The Columbia Slimdown Challenge, sponsored by the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation, resulted in approximately 3,500 participants losing a combined 22,309 pounds during the summer.
- Bike, Walk and Wheel Week, an annual event by Columbia Parks and Recreation, serves to promote active transportation. Popular events include the Secret Access Trail Ride and Walk to School Day.
Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.