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Illinois's Obesity Rate Increases, State Finally Cracks Top Half Of Annual Ranking

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First Posted: 07/07/11 05:19 PM ET Updated: 09/06/11 06:12 AM ET

Per a report published Thursday by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, adults in Illinois are among those in 16 states who have seen their obesity rate increase over the past year.

In fact, Illinois has now broken into the top half of the annual ranking of the most obese states, ranking 23rd among the 50 states, five places higher than its 28th place ranking last year, according to the report, which is titled "F as in Fat" [PDF].

All told, adult Illinoisans who are either overweight or obese represent an estimated 63.7 percent of the population, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Over the past 15 years, Illinois has seen its obesity rate increase 80 percent, which is relatively in line with the vast majority of the rest of the country. While no states in 1995 had obesity rates higher than 20 percent, today only Colorado, the country's skinniest state, could boast a rate lower than that marker.

The five states with the highest adult obesity rates were Mississippi (34.4 percent), Alabama (32.3 percent), West Virginia (32.2 percent), Tennessee (31.9 percent) and Louisiana (31.6 percent).

As the Chicago Tribune reported, Illinois' child obesity ranking (20.7 percent) paints a not-particularly-sunny outlook for the future, as the state ranked fifth worse in that age group. More accurately, Illinois actually tied for fourth among 10- to 17-year-olds with Louisiana.

The report, based on self-reported data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also noted low-income, less-educated adults and minority groups experienced higher obesity rates.

In order to reverse trend, the report listed among its recommendations increasing access to high quality, affordable, healthier foods; increasing physical activity through improving the community infrastructure around exercise and ensuring that all food and beverages sold in schools meet federal dietary guidelines.

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Filed by Joseph Erbentraut  |