Reversing a 30 Year Trend?
Childhood obesity rates are on the decline in some US cities, finds a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, perhaps signaling a trend that the obesity epidemic may be reversing course. NYC reported a drop of 5.5% in the number of obese schoolchildren from 2007-2011. Philadelphia reported a 5% drop and LA is down 3%. Researchers are not sure what’s behind the declines, the first in 30 years. Obesity is now part of a national conversation but researchers, many of whom doubt that anti-obesity programs work, say it will take a broad set of policies applied systematically to effectively reverse childhood obesity. Philadelphia, for example, has reduced or eliminated sugary drinks from school vending machines, replaced whole milk with 1% or skim and reduced serving sizes of snack foods.
2030 Is Looking Big
By 2013, adult obesity rates in 13 states may exceed 60 percent, find researchers. WebMD says that researchers also warn that there will be an increase in obesity-related diseases. Reporting jointly, the Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation both project that these 13 states could have adult obesity rates greater than 60 percent by 2030: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia. The report, called "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012," also notes that Colorado has the lowest obesity rate at 20.7 percent, but Mississippi has the highest at 34.9 percent.
But They're Explaining Things
Many patients think doctors are rushing exams, but they're explaining things well nevertheless, finds a new poll. The survey was conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR and the Harvard School of Public Health. The poll contained the same questions asked by another survey conducted in 1983. The results show that patients think doctors are still rushing exams. Three out of five patients believe their exams are rushed, and that's the same number from 1983! Yet, 64 percent said doctors explained things well, compared to just 48 percent who thought that in 1983. Patients today are also more likely to think that physicians are trying to keep down medical costs.
Key to Grade a Health
Results from conducted by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, study comparing people in over 3,000 U.S. counties found that a college education was linked to better health. There was an inverse relationship between more education and smoking, being sedentary and obese, teen births, hospitals stays that could have been avoided and childhood poverty. The Southern states ranked at the top in childhood poverty and sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy while the North had the highest rates of excessive alcohol consumption. Researchers also found that high school dropout rates were indirectly related to heart disease and cancer, which is linked to higher poverty and unemployment.
Check Up on Your County
New health rankings, which provide a detailed look at most of the country's 3,000-plus counties, were released today by County Health Rankings. To find your county's health information, visit countyhealthranksings.org and enter your county or state. The report compares health outcomes (premature death, low birthweight, etc.) and factors (smoking, obesity, teen birth rate, etc.) at county, state and national levels. For example, Memphis, Tenn., has an adult obesity rate of 34 percent, compared with the state level of 31 percent and the national benchmark of 25 percent. The rankings are a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.