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Obesity still a major problem in Arizona, new report finds

(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, FILE)

PHOENIX — A new report from a national health foundation found that Arizona still has a significant obesity problem.

The state was ranked 30th in obesity among the states in the 15th annual “State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America” report.

“Almost one in three adults in Arizona are obese,” said John Auerbach, president of TFAH. “Nearly 16 percent of the children from 10 to 17 years are obese.”

Auerbach said Arizona’s adult-obesity rate is significantly higher than it was ten years ago.

He also said many adults and children know they must bring their weight down, but there are often significant barriers, particularly for low-income persons.

Among those barriers are unsafe neighborhoods and parks — which means no walking — lack of quality recreational facilities and grocery stores that are not nearby.

“Obesity is a complex and often intractable problem, and America’s obesity epidemic continues to have serious health and cost consequences for individuals, their families and our nation,” he said.

“The good news is that there is growing evidence that certain prevention programs can reverse these trends.

“But we won’t see meaningful declines in state and national obesity rates until they are implemented throughout the nation and receive sustained support.”

Among those prevention programs, Auerbach said, are healthier options at local restaurants and hospitals, and healthy school lunch programs.

The report was released earlier this week by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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