Study: Pennsylvania ranks as 20th heaviest state

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Sep 2, 2013 4:26 AM
woman on scale diet

(Princeton, N.J.) -- A new report shows Pennsylvania's obesity rate has leveled off, but the commonwealth is still the 20th heaviest state in the nation.

The tenth-annual "F as in Fat" report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows the state's overall obesity rate is just above 29 percent.

The foundation's Dwayne Proctor, Ph.D., says obesity rates vary by income, with a higher percentage of lower-income people being classified as obese.

"We're finding that in lower-income populations across the country, access to healthy foods, or healthy foods that are affordable and appealing to them, you have lesser access in those ways," Proctor explains. "We also find that in lower-income and middle-income communities, many times there's no place to play safely outside or even to go for a walk."

Proctor says one of the most alarming findings comes from a Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showing obesity for Pennsylvania's preschoolers is on the rise.

He says being overweight can lead to health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

In 1980, no state had an obesity rate above 15 percent.

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