Minn. rank on obesity is better, but ...

  • Article by: WARREN WOLFE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 8, 2011 - 1:18 AM

The good news about fatness in Minnesota is that the state is now the 13th least obese, down from 20th last year, according to an annual report Thursday that ranks the states.

Unfortunately, that's because people elsewhere got fatter, while the rate of Minnesota adults who are obese stayed the same at 25.3 percent.

Since 1995, the percentage of obese Minnesotans has nearly doubled, from 14.6 percent.

Overall, Minnesotan's combined rates of obesity and overweight (25 or higher body mass index) rose from 51 percent in 1995 to 63 percent last year.

The report, called "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011," is part of a larger set of health measures compiled by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Another bright spot: 11.1 percent of Minnesota children were obese, tied with Washington for third best, behind Wyoming (10.2) and Oregon (9.6).

The study, based on 2010 data, says a dozen states top 30 percent obesity, most in the South. No state decreased its level of obesity, defined as a body mass index of 30 or more, a measure of weight and height.

Sixteen states reported higher obesity rates, down from 28 states last year. Those increases have been slowing, most likely because of greater public awareness of health issues and government attempts to give schools and shoppers better access to healthier foods, said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health.

"We're leveling off to some degree at an unacceptably high level," Levi said.

Racial and ethnic minority adults, and those with less education or lower incomes, continue to have the highest overall obesity rates, the report found.

Obesity in adjacent states rose in 2010, and those numbers were higher than in Minnesota: Iowa 28.1 percent; North Dakota 28 percent; South Dakota 28.7 percent and Wisconsin 27.4 percent.

To calculate your body mass index: www.startribune.com/a535 To read the report: www.startribune.com/a536

wolfe@startribune.com • 612-673-7253

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