F as in Fat: Annual Obesity Report

How Massachusetts ranks in the obesity epidemic.

Photo via Thinkstock

“F” is for “Fat.” And there is a whole lot of it throughout the country.

According to a study put out by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), 12 states in the U.S. have more than 30 percent of their population weighing in as obese.

The good news? Massachusetts is not one of them!

The bad news? 22.7 percent of Massachusetts residents are obese.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases obesity rates each year. The TFAH used these statistics to determine that Massachusetts has the third-lowest obesity ranking in the nation. It’s sad to think that, comparatively speaking, nearly a quarter of our state’s population being obese means we’re doing pretty well.

The epidemic has not gone unnoticed. Mayor Menino has valiantly tried to fight obesity with his Boston Moves for Health program that has been less than successful. There have also been initiatives taken to fight childhood obesity in the city. But with a 22.7 percent obesity rate, there is a lot more work to do.

The CDC defines obesity as a body mass index over 30. This roughly equates to an individual’s weight being one third fat. A healthy BMI should be between 18.5-24.9. You can calculate your BMI here.

The TFAH and RWJF will release their 2012 F as in Fat report later in the summer. The report analyzes obesity rates by state and the efforts being taken to combat the problem. Massachusetts should fare well in this report. But since obesity can lead to health problems such as diabetes, stroke, hypertension, and heart disease—with almost a quarter of our residents at risk—should we really be patting ourselves on the back?