Study: Almost a third of adults in Illinois were obese in 2016

Study: Almost a third of adults in Illinois were obese in 2016

CHAMPAIGN — A local doctor says a new report finding that nearly a third of Illinois adults are obese wasn't surprising.

People are working long hours, not taking time to cook and eating a lot of fast food, said Dr. Timothy Meneely, senior vice president of population health at Carle.

Still others don't have good access to healthy foods, he said.

"It becomes difficult sometimes for people to get themselves out of this rut of eating unhealthy foods," Meneely said.

Illinois ranked 18th-highest among states for adult obesity, with 31.6 percent of the state's adults considered to be obese in 2016, according to a report released Thursday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health.

While the state's ranking remained the same from a year ago, the obesity rate grew slightly among Illinois adults, 30.8 percent of whom were obese in 2015.

People considered to be obese have a body mass index number based on their height and weight of 30 or higher, which is 197 pounds for someone 5 feet 8 inches tall.

People considered to be overweight have a BMI of 25-29.9, which is generally 10 percent over their ideal weight, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

About one-third of Illinois children are also overweight or obese.

Meneely said the statistics weren't a surprise because patients are routinely weighed at medical appointments, and doctors talk to them all the time about obesity and its related health concerns.

"It's an across-the-board risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, the big three issues we have with adults that lead to early death and, frankly, a lot of costs," he said.

Those are both medical costs and human costs, Meneely said.

Obesity also contributes to back pain, worsens absenteeism from work and racks up more medication and lab test costs, he said.

Carle is looking at starting a pilot program next year for patients with pre-diabetes to help with some lifestyle changes that have shown some success in reversing the path to diabetes, he said.

Nationally, there have been some encouraging signs of obesity rates leveling off, but obesity rates are still too high, said Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO Dr. Richard Besser.

"That progress could be easily undermined if leaders and policy makers at all levels don't continue to prioritize efforts that help all Americans lead healthier lives," he warned.

Among states, the lowest obesity rate was found in Colorado at 22.3 percent. West Virginia had the highest rate at 37.7 percent.

Some other findings in this year's report:

— Obesity rates tended to be about 30 percent higher among adults who don't have college educations and with an annual income below $15,000, compared to other adults.

— One in four young adults who try to join the military are ineligible due to weight and fitness concerns.

Obesity in Illinois

How many adults in Illinois considered to be obese by year, according to the new State of Obesity report:

Year Percent
1990 12.1
2000 20.4
2016 31.6

We're No. 18

From having the highest percentage of obese adults (West Virginia) to the lowest (Colorado), here's a look at how the 50 states and District of Columbia stack up in a report released Thursday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America's Health:

1. West Virginia

2. Mississippi

3(T). Alabama

3(T). Arkansas

5. Louisiana

6. Tennessee

7. Kentucky

8. Texas

9. Oklahoma

10(T). Indiana

10(T). Michigan

12. South Carolina

13(T). Iowa

13(T). Nebraska

15. North Dakota

16. North Carolina

17. Missouri

18. Illinois

19. Ohio

20(T). Alaska

20(T). Georgia

22. Kansas

23(T). Delaware

23(T). Wisconsin

25. Pennsylvania

26(T). Maine

26(T). Maryland

28. South Dakota

29(T). Arizona

29(T). Virginia

31. Oregon

32. Washington

33. New Mexico

34. Minnesota

35. Wyoming

36(T). Florida

36(T). Idaho

36(T). New Jersey

39. Vermont

40(T). New Hampshire

40(T). Rhode Island

42. Connecticut

43. Nevada

44(T). Montana

44(T). New York

46. Utah

47. California

48. Hawaii

49. Massachusetts

50. D.C.

51. Colorado

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