Monday, July 6, 2009

Obesity Rates Up Again

I'm just back from the annual School Nutrition Association annual national conference in Las Vegas (more about that in a later post). While I was gone, an important event occurred:

The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are just out with their newest report on obesity in the United States, "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America 2009." According to the report, "in the past year, adult obesity rates grew in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state. The number of obese adults now exceeds 25 percent in nearly two-thirds of states" (p. 3).

The report has, I think, a relatively fair portrayal of the difficulties faced by schools in the current context of food politics. In the face of rising food prices, rising demand for free and reduced meals amidst a recession, and policy pressures to run profitable operations, school foodservice operations are having a difficult time affording to offer nutritious foods.

To illustrate this meteoric rise in obesity in the U.S., I animated the slideshow available from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Watch as the nation gets fatter from 1985 to 2007! Apparently, according to "F as in Fat," there's no end in sight.