by Chris Davis
WASHINGTON, D.C.--It's probably no surprise to Mississippians that we are once again being cited nationally for our notorious obesity rate. Each year several studies from the feds, from the state, from academic and from private sources tell us we're eating too much good food. The new study has some unique predictions, though, with estimates that by 2030 the Magnolia State will have 67 percent of adults classified as obese. That's not just fat or overweight, that's obese.
The study is by a group that claims to campaign against obesity-The Trust for America's Health. Their slogan "Preventing Epidemics, Protecting People". The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation also contributed to the report. The Trust claims to be non-partisan. The Foundation lobbies for affordable health care, according to its website and has also fought against childhood obesity.
A statement by the Trust shows they believe governmental action to be the solution to the predicted obesity rates, which according to the study would carry with it an increase in type II diabetes and other obesity-related issues that drive health care costs up. This is from the Trust website:
“This study shows us two futures for America’s health,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, RWJF president and CEO. “At every level of government, we must pursue policies that preserve health, prevent disease and reduce health care costs. Nothing less is acceptable.”
We spoke with Dr. Donna Ryan, a former president of the Obesity Society. Ryan says Mississippi's problem will be a topic at the Society's annual meeting in San Antonio next week.
She sees one of the main problems as being "environmental drivers".
"It's not something that can change overnight because the environmental pressures that drove it are still going to be there," she said. "It's the climate. It's very difficult in Mississippi to be physically active out of doors in the summer time. we also have a heritage of delicious foods that are readily available."
Ryan said a combination of two previously available medications for use at the same time has been apporved by the FDA. That combination is seen by she and the Society as a chemical solution. Most FDA approved obesity medications involve appetite suppression.
Studies by the federal government predict increases in obesity based on trends, but do not have the numbers as high.