Poll Watch: Obesity Levels Lowest in Colorado, Highest in West Virginia

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The 2010 Gallup Well-Being Index

According to the latest Gallup Poll.

Colorado, Hawaii, and Utah had the lowest obesity levels in the United States in 2010, although at least 2 in 10 adults were obese in each of these states. West Virginia, Mississippi, and Kentucky had the highest obesity rates, with more than 3 in 10 obese residents living in these states. The prevalence of obesity is nearly eight percentage points higher, on average, in the 11 states with the highest obesity levels compared with the 10 states with the lowest obesity levels — 30.5% vs. 22.6%, respectively.

A very interesting regionalization of obesity levels. I cannot help but think that this is based on culturally-based eating and food choice habits.

Here is the table:

So, what does this mean?

The implications of increasing obesity rates and the associated health outcomes of being obese are extensive for national, state, and local leaders. A recent Gallup study analyzed obesity data from 187 U.S. metro areas and found that if all of them reduced their obesity rates to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national goal of 15%, the U.S. could save $32.6 billion in healthcare costs annually.

The 2010 state-level findings underscore the connection between high obesity levels and diabetes diagnosis and highlight how widespread this problem is across the country. Obesity and diabetes rates in the U.S. have only worsened since Gallup and Healthways started tracking these conditions daily in January 2008. Strong leadership at the governmental, organizational, and individual level focused on changing health habits, including encouraging more frequent exercise and healthy eating, is needed to begin to reduce these costly and potentially deadly health issues.

There is much work to do to promote healthy diets and more frequent exercise for better health and longevity.


Believe it or Not: Underweight Children Have Higher Tooth Decay Risk?

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Yes, it is true.

The study made at Malmö University examined the dental health of more than 900 five-year olds in central Skåne through records from child health and public dental clinics.

One reason cited by the researchers as to why underweight children are at a high risk for tooth decay can be due to parental concerns about their child’s weight development. As a consequence, they allow their children to eat what they want at irregular hours, resulting in the diet that contains more sugar.

Previous studies have shown that overweight children have an increased risk of tooth decay, but in the current study, the scientists did not see the link.

According to Lars Matsson, professor of paedodontics at the Faculty of Odontology at the university, the research results were surprising. The study was initially undertaken to examine overweight children, but it was the underweight children who turned out to have the most tooth decay.

“We have found a risk group that we did not recognise before,” said Matsson. “In dental care, we must be more attentive to these children, examine them carefully and inform parents so they can give them a good and healthy diet. Child care centres must also pay attention and help these children.”

Kind of counter-intuitive but when you think about it, poor nutrition with high sugar content happens with underweight children as well as the obese.

Just remember. children should have a balanced diet, regular dental care and cut back on the sugars and refined carbohydrates for better dental health.