Report: Obesity a concern in PA, nationwide

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Sep 20, 2012 5:37 AM

health-insurance.jpg(Undated) -- A new report shows more than half the people in 39 states, including Pennsylvania, will be considered obese in the next two decades.

The commonwealth would fall roughly in the middle of the pack with a projected adult obesity rate of just under 57 percent by 2030, according to Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health.

The state currently ranks 20th in adult obesity rates.

Dwayne Proctor, Director of the Childhood Obesity Team, says nutrition education could make a difference in reversing the trend, but it's not the only answer. "Even if parents and kids learn about nutrition and calories, things of that nature, if they don't live in a community where they can have access to healthy foods, if they're buying prepared foods and the calories aren't clearly posted with information about fats, salts and sugars, it's hard to put that education to work," he says.

Proctor says changes in school lunches, or different types of food in vending machines could make a difference in fighting the obesity epidemic.

The report shows the state could save billions in health care costs by reducing the average body mass index of residents by 5 percent.

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