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Aug 4, 2010 11:21 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Crushing obesity rates reported in 9 states

Americans are more overweight than ever and may die sooner because of it according to the new report from the Centers for Disease Control.

From 2007 to 2009 the number of states with more than a third of their population considered obese tripled from three states to nine.

The CDC report may actually underestimate the true obesity prevalence because it's based on telephone interviews.

"People tend to under-report their weight and over-report their height so when prevalence is based on BMI, you get underestimates from self-report," explains the CDC's Dr. William Dietz.

As America's waistline has grown, so has the price tag for treating obesity-related ailments including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The report shows obesity accounted for about 10 percent of medical costs in 2008, or about $150 billion.

"We can't afford not to come to terms with this problem. It is expensive and likely to break the medical bank," notes Dr. Dietz.

Obesity experts say making small changes today can add up.

For starters, they suggest drinking more water and cutting back on sugary drinks.

Even parking a bit further away from buildings instead of in the closest parking space can help.

Those first steps, experts say, combined with community-wide efforts like increasing walking and biking areas may pave the way to a slimmer and healthier America.

The nine states with an obesity prevalence of more than 30-percent are Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia.

 

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