Obesity has increased in all 49 states included in a nine-year telephone survey conducted to determine U.S. public health trends (The Journal of the American Medical Association). While some of the news from the survey was positive, clearly, some areas still require major work. Physical inactivity increased in three states, declined in 11 and remained unchanged in 34 others.
“Multiple approaches for increasing physical activity and reducing obesity are needed, including educational programs, policies and environmental interventions to increase physical activity and improve dietary patterns,” the study said.
Another disturbing health trend the survey identified was the increase in smoking in 14 of 47 states. The only state with a decrease in smoking was Minnesota.
While some health trends, such as seat belt use, showed positive gains, the study’s lead author told Reuters Health, “No matter how well some states had done, they all had several measures that could get better.”
Among the 49 states surveyed, there was considerable variation in public health improvement, with New York showing the best improvement with improvements in eight out of 11 measures, followed by Delaware, Kentucky and Maryland, which showed improvement in seven areas. However, Alaska didn’t experience improvements for any measures, and at least four of 11 measures worsened in Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.