The State of Obesity


Did you know…

  • Kentucky high school students have the worst obesity rate in the United States?
  • Utah high school students have the lowest obesity rate in the United States?
  • Black youth view twice as many calories advertised in fast food commercials as White (non-Hispanic) youth?

What are possible explanations for these disparities? These data are found in  The State of Obesitya collaborative effort of Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The site is clearly organized (user-friendly), and includes sections on obesity rates and trends, policy analysis, state briefs, and bite-sized lists. Fast facts are also available—such as the highest percentage of teenage obesity can be found in the southern United States, and the lowest are found in the western United States. A clear correlation shows that the poorer and less educated, the higher the rate of obesity.  The State of Obesity also highlights statewide trends, and findings based on age, socioeconomic status, and physical activity, among others. The site also offers opportunities and strategies for obesity prevention and policy recommendations.

At a micro level, the educational possibilities from the The State of Obesity  statistics are endless. Both media and health literacies hinge on the ability to access these data—and then analyze, evaluate and communicate findings. Parents and teachers can pose the question: “How do we know what we know about obesity?” Answering this question will lead young people to critical analysis of both individual behavior and societal structures that both impede as well as promote health.

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