Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Obesity Numbers for Michigan Go Down

The health news for Michigan - not including the Flint Water Crisis - remains a concern for the majority of our adult citizens. The website State of Obesity reported in 2015 that, according to its updated numbers, obesity in Michigan appeared to be leveling out after a sharp rise from 13.2% in 1990 to 31.5% in 2013. It was 30.7% in 2014.

This may not seem to be much, it means that Michigan has dropped from being one of the Top 10 most obese states down to 17, below other Midwest states like Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Sadly, all of the fifty states have obesity rates above 20% and many of them much, much higher. Obesity is highest in the 45-64 category and lowest in the 18-25 category. Men in Michigan are slightly more likely to be obese than women, and Blacks and Latinos are both more likely to be obese than Whites. Adults are considered to be obese if their body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30. Adults with a BMI of higher than 25 but lower than 30 are considered overweight. Combining both overweight and obese adults, two-thirds of adults in Michigan are heavier than what is considered a normal weight.

Recent university research has revealed that childhood sweet cravings are a good predictor of later weight gain and adult obesity. Childhood obesity is also a problem in Michigan, although the percentage of obesity children ages 2-4 in low-income households also dropped with the most recent survey.

While individually people tend to look at weight gain and the health problems associated with it as an individual’s struggle, the fact is that there are long ranging consequences for the state at large because of obesity which is why researchers are looking into childhood obesity predictors and what other root causes could be behind these trends. Not only are diabetes, hypertension, and a host of other physical problems linked to weight gain, but much of the damage done is permanent. Losing weight will help alleviate many dangerous or uncomfortable health conditions, but it will not reverse the stress placed on internal organs or the stretching of skin the results from large weight gain.

Finally, losing hundreds of pounds is not only very difficult, but most people who accomplish it are not able to maintain that weight loss and gain it back over time. This is why researchers want to bypass childhood and mid-life weight gain so that the overall quality of health of the U.S. population is better.

In Kent County the percentage of obese adults is 29%. Women have a slightly lower rate at 28% than men, 30% of whom were obese.