Akron Beacon Journal: Ohioans still fat, but not fatter

First Posted: 7/26/2011

Ohioans are not shedding excess weight quite as quickly as in other states. But they are not packing on extra poundage as steadily as they have during the past decade, either. In the battle to reduce obesity, a leveling off counts as success of sorts: The problem remains serious, but at least it is not getting worse.Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that between 1995 and 2010, the obesity rate in Ohio rose from 17.5 percent to 29.7 percent, mirroring the nation's unhealthy trend in body weight. The Ohio Department of Health reports that in the past couple of years in the state, and across the nation, the rate is leveling off, efforts to control the bulge beginning to pay off.The trouble is, Ohio still weighs in heavier than the national obesity rate, which was 27.6 percent in 2010. That translates into higher risks for a range of obesity-related health risks, among them cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and the aches and pains from overworked joints.In the long term, the highest priority in growing a healthy public is to train children at home and at school to develop good habits of eating and physical activity. The rising public and individual costs of managing the health risks of an obese population should be incentive enough for the state to get more creative in encouraging physical activity and improving education and access to good nutrition.It is good Ohioans are not tipping the scales at an accelerated pace. It would be better still to reverse the trend in obesity.

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