A new national report says that Minnesota has the 31st highest rate of adult obesity in the nation and has tied with Utah for the lowest rate of obese and overweight children.
About 1-in-4 Minnesota adults are obese, according to the sixth-annual report by the Washington-based Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. About 23 percent of state's children ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese.
The rate of obese adults remained consistent in the past year in Minnesota, but increased in 23 other states. Nationwide, about 34 percent of adults are obese.
Mississippi had the highest rate of adult obesity at 32.5 percent, making it the fifth year in a row that the state topped the list. Colorado had the lowest at 18.9 percent.
Mississippi also had the highest rate of obese and overweight children at 44.4 percent. National childhood obesity rates have more than tripled since 1980.
The report warns that rising food prices, overextended safety-net programs for the poor and uninsured, and increased anxiety due to the economic downturn could exacerbate the nation's weight problem.
"Our health care costs have grown along with our waist lines," said Dr. Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health. "The obesity epidemic is a big contributor to the skyrocketing health care costs in the United States. How are we going to compete with the rest of the world if our economy and workforce are weighed down by bad health?"
The health care advocacy group has proposed the creation of a "National Strategy to Combat Obesity" to coordinate government efforts. The strategy calls for increased funding for obesity prevention programs, the elimination of junk food advertising to children, and a detailed review of current government policies.
See the full "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009" report.