Michigan is 10th Most Obese State in the Nation

Michigan was named the 10th most obese state in the country, according to the 8th annual F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011, a report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Michigan’s adult obesity rate is 30.5 percent.

Fifteen years ago, Michigan had an obesity rate of 17.2 percent and was ranked fourth most obese state in the nation. The obesity rate in Michigan increased by 77 percent over the last 15 years.

“Today, the state with the lowest adult obesity rate would have had the highest rate in 1995,” said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH. “There was a clear tipping point in our national weight gain over the last twenty years, and we can’t afford to ignore the impact obesity has on our health and corresponding health care spending.”

In addition, for many states, their combined rates for overweight and obesity, and rates of chronic health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, have increased dramatically over the past two decades. For Michigan, long-term trends in rates include:

  • Fifteen years ago, Michigan had a combined obesity and overweight rate of 53.6 percent. Ten years ago, it was 59.3 percent. Now, the combined rate is 65.7 percent.
  • Diabetes rates have doubled in ten states in the past 15 years. In 1995, Michigan had a diabetes rate of 7.6 percent. Now the diabetes rate is 9.5 percent.
  • Fifteen years ago, Michigan had a hypertension rate of 23.1 percent. Now, the rate is 28.7 percent.

These alarming trends are very important to people with mental illness, because research has shown that people with serious mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier than the general population. (See Report on Morbidity (Illness) and Mortality (Death) in People with Serious Mental Illness.)

Increasing awareness is just a first step. The next step is a call to action: What can YOU do to eat more healthy foods? How can YOU avoid unhealthy foods? How can YOU increase your physical activity? YOUR health is important – and YOU are worth the effort!