Adult obesity rates fall significantly in Minnesota

Adult obesity rates are decreasing in Minnesota, new data suggests.

The new findings show Minnesota was ranked 13thth for lowest obesity rate in the U.S.

Other notable findings include:

  • The adult obesity rate dropped to 26.1 percent
  • Minnesota’s rate remains the lowest state in the region including North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa
  • Nationally, Minnesota was one of just four states to see a decrease in the obesity rate.

Simone French, Ph.D., an obesity researcher and professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, told the Star Tribune that while it’s impossible to pinpoint a single reason behind the trend, it’s safe to say that community efforts, combined with policy changes and awareness campaigns have all contributed to the decrease.

“What we’re seeing is the fruition of several years of work in this area statewide,” she said.

Claudia Fox, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School who specializes in pediatric weight management, notes that while this new information is indeed good news, it often fails to be reported that the prevalence of youth with severe forms of obesity has not budged. This is a segment of youth with BMIs above 35 percent or greater than the 99th percentile for age and sex.

“These youth have significantly higher risk for all kinds of comorbidities including premature cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” Fox said. “Additionally, effective treatment options for this disease are limited. We still have a lot of work to do in preventing and treating severe obesity in childhood.”

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