Report: PA needs to do more to fight obesity, smoking

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Dec 13, 2012 2:56 PM

(Minnetonka, Minn.) -- A report looking at the overall health of Pennsylvanians shows some minor improvements and some major concerns.

The annual Health Rankings from United Health Foundation finds 2.9 million people in PA are obese.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rhonda Randall says that number's probably low because obesity figures rely on self-reporting.

She says the obesity rate in the commonwealth has been rising since the foundation started its surveys in 1990.

"You have 26.2% of Pennsylvanians who don't have any physical activity at all, except from going to and from work," Randall says. "What that's all going to lead to over time is an unhealthy Pennsylvania where you're going to see more chronic diseases as a result like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and cancers."

Randall says the gets good marks for a high rate of medical insurance among its residents and a high level of education.

However, she says smoking is still a challenge for P-A, with some 2.2 million Prennsylvanians lighting up on a regular basis.

The commonwealth ranks 26th in the overall ratings, up two spots from last year.

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