Conn. metro area 2nd least obese in U.S., Hartford area below national average
March 13, 2012
by Renee Canada
Ten metropolitan areas across the U.S. can stake claim to being the least obese in the nation for 2011. The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn. metropolitan area is one of them, ranked second least obese with a rate of 14.5 percent.
A recent report by Gallup identified the least and most obese metropolitan areas in the country. Among the 190 metro areas surveyed, Boulder, Colo. came in number one, with 12.1 percent of its residents considered obese. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas weighed in the heaviest with an obesity rate of 38.8 percent.
The average rate for the 10 metro areas with the most obesity was 34.8 percent, compared with 15.9 percent in the 10 least obese metro areas. Across the nation, 26.1 percent of American adults were considered obese in 2011, compared to 26.6 percent in 2010.
The Hartford/West Hartford/East Hartford region comes below the national average, with a 25.5 percent obesity rate, according the Gallup’s U.S. City Wellbeing Tracking. On a positive trend for obesity-related conditions, the percentage of respondents in the region diagnosed with diabetes fell from 11.6 percent in 2010 to 9.8 in 2011.
According to the most recent year’s data, lower-income Americans, blacks and those aged 45-65 were most likely to be obese, while young adults (18-29) and people making an annual income of $90,000 and above were least likely to be.
The Gallup report shows promise that there is a leveling off in the nation’s obesity rate, mirroring the findings in recent reports by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, while there was a slight decline in the overall nation’s obesity rate in 2011, Gallup reports, “more than 2 in 10 adults remain obese in all but one U.S. state.”
Furthermore, according to the report, F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011, released last year by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, no state had an obesity rate higher than 24 percent ten years ago, while now 43 states do. Twelve states now have obesity rates above 30 percent.
Despite the fact that there were no significant increases in the rates of diabetes or high blood pressure in any state as reported by Gallup, it remains a significant public health concern that more than 1 in 5 adults have the diagnosis of high blood pressure across the states. According to F as in Fat, diabetes rates have doubled in ten states in the past 15 years. In Connecticut, the diabetes rate has risen from 5.5 percent in 1995 to 6.9 percent in 2010. The rate of hypertension 15 years ago was 21 percent. Now it is 25.7 percent.
In the Hartford Health Survey 2006, obesity-related conditions like hypertension and diabetes were among the top five reported chronic disease conditions in 2006, with their prevalence increasing significantly from 2003. The rate of obesity among 2,772 Hartford respondents in 2006 was 38 percent, up from 28 percent in 1997 and 34 percent in 2000.
According to the Connecticut Commision on Children, more than 3,000 people in the state die annually from obesity and related complications. In a single year, obesity-related health problems added $665 million in Medicaid and Medicare costs in the state. The adult obesity rate nearly doubled during the period of 1990-2005, from 12 percent to 20 percent.
At the end of last month, Gallup also released a report that ranked Connecticut sixth among the 10 states with the lowest obesity rates, based on self-reports by respondents of their height and weight, used to calculate their body mass index (BMI). A person with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. In 2011, 26.1 percent of adults in this country were identified as obese. Connecticut had a rate of 22.3 percent.
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