- Associated Press - Friday, September 5, 2014

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Adult obesity is back on the rise after two years of decline in Wyoming, where more than 1 in 4 adults now are significantly heavier than they ought to be, according to a new study.

The adult obesity rate in Wyoming increased 3.2 percent from 2012 to 2013. Adult obesity has nearly doubled since 1995 and now includes almost 28 percent of all adults in the state, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Wyoming is one of five states experiencing a significant increase in obesity.

Many factors come into play but obesity basically comes down to poor nutrition and not enough exercise, Joe Grandpre, a chronic disease epidemiologist at the Wyoming Department of Health, told the Casper Star-Tribune (https://bit.ly/1xluVtP).

Many people these days are working more, cooking less and relying on cheap fast food. With fast-food often nearing 2,000 calories per meal, people can get an entire day’s worth of calories in one sitting, Grandpre said.

“Fast food is easy, it’s cheap, and it’s everywhere,” he said. “Not only do you get your calories for the day in one meal, there isn’t a lot of nutrition in a lot of that stuff either.”

Next to smoking, he said, obesity is a leading cause of death in Wyoming.

Obesity is a leading contributor to heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, hypertension and orthopedic disabilities, said Dr. Bob Burr, an endocrinologist at Wyoming Medical Center.

“If you could wave a magic wand and could make obesity go away, the consequences for lowering mortality rates would be substantial,” Burr said.

Wyoming has the 30th-highest adult obesity rate in the nation. Colorado has the lowest obesity rate in the U.S., with 21.3 percent of its adults reporting body mass indexes above 30 points.

“They’ve had the lowest obesity rate for as long as we’ve kept track,” said Anna Zajacova, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wyoming. “The reason is the type of people who immigrate there. They are often highly educated people who come there for the active lifestyle, which has been linked to a lower probability of obesity.”

She said Wyoming’s rate is fairly average compared with that of similar Western states.


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com

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