Recreation Management - Ideas and Solutions for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

October 2018


Obesity Continues to Challenge America's Health

Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

Grant Program Funds Keep America Beautiful Initiatives - October 2018

Nation's Pediatricians Emphasize Power of Play - October 2018

Step Into Swim Continues to Create New Swimmers - September 2018

Pickleball Benefits Older Adults - September 2018

NSPF Endorses MAHC Adoption - September 2018

Cities Spend More on Public Parks in 2018 - September 2018

Be Ready for Back-to-School Sports - August 2018

NRPA, Pool Safely Partner on Water & Recreation Safety - August 2018

States Make Progress Toward Active Transportation - August 2018

IHRSA Briefing Looks at Club Employees vs. Contractors - August 2018

ACSM & Wellcoaches Expand Offerings for Fitness Pros - July 2018

Grants Help Local Trail Projects - July 2018

Grant to Boost Meals & Nutrition for Kids - July 2018

Trust for Public Land Releases ParkServe Database - July 2018

CPSC Asks for Vigilance to Prevent Child Drowning - July 2018

TPL Earns NEA Grant to Explore Creative Placemaking - June 2018

High Visa Denial Rates Could Affect Pools - June 2018

Make a Splash Campaign Teaches Millions to Swim - June 2018

Communities Can Earn Grants for Dog Park Development - June 2018

National Golf Day Celebrates Green Practices - May 2018

YMCA Recognized for Diversity - May 2018

Americans Support Pollinator Health, And Parks Can Help - May 2018

How to Encourage Play—Everywhere! - April 2018

Partnership, Grants to Boost Mountain Bike Trail Development - April 2018

Parks & Recreation Supports More Than 1.1 Million Jobs - April 2018

Club Pilates Grows With New Training Facility - April 2018

IHRSA Sees Positive Growth for Fitness Pros - April 2018

Denver's Freedom Park Wins Grant for Public Art - March 2018

NSPF, Counsilman-Hunsaker Partner to Create App for Aquatic Facility Managers - March 2018

More Than 330 Million Recreation Visits Recorded in 2017 for National Park System - March 2018

Study Shows Economic Benefits of the Great Outdoors - March 2018

Parks for Inclusion Initiative Aims to Expand Reach to All Americans - February 2018

SHAPE America, NFL & Partners Collaborate on Training for Health & P.E. Educators - February 2018

CPSC Offers $1.1 Million in Pool Safely Grants - February 2018

Bipartisan PHIT Act Could Boost America's Wellness - February 2018

China Plant Shutdowns May Affect Pool Operations & Budgets - January 2018

Arlington County 'Pulls Together' to Remove Invasive Plants - January 2018

Youth Sports Participation Increases for Underserved Kids - January 2018

Study: Physical Activity Boosts Learning Time - January 2018

Preventing Germs in Gyms: What Works? - December 2017

Study: Laws Reduce Recurrent Concussions - December 2017

Grants Awarded for Urban Water & Wildlife Habitat Restoration - December 2017

APSP University Launches New Certification Course - November 2017

New Series Aims to Empower Students With Healthy Habits - November 2017

US Club Soccer Puts Focus on Player Safety - November 2017

New Initiative Aims to Ensure All Have Access to Parks & Rec - November 2017

L.A. Parks Earn Mostly Positive Report Card - October 2017

Health Club Memberships Up, Led by Youth & Older Adults - October 2017

Dallas Park Recognized With ASLA Award - October 2017

Adult Obesity Rates Leveling Off - October 2017

Improving Kids' Wellness—In the Classroom - October 2017

By Dave Ramont

The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently released their 15th annual “State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America” report, which tracks the latest obesity trends. The report also recommends actions necessary to fight obesity, and highlights programs, policies, strategies and practices aimed at fighting this epidemic.

In 1999-2000, 13.9 percent of children and 30.5 percent of adults had obesity. In 2015-2016 those rates increased significantly, with 18.5 percent of children and 39.6 percent of adults having obesity, according to the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). These are the highest rates ever documented by NHANES, confirming that obesity rates are alarmingly high.

A 2017 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which looked at individual states, found that no states showed a reduction in adult obesity rates, while six states experienced a significant increase in those rates. West Virginia tallied the highest rate at 38.1 percent while Colorado showed the lowest rate at 22.6 percent—making it the only state with a number below 25 percent. Additionally, two other studies found higher rates of severe obesity in kids and adults living in rural areas.

Ethnic and racial disparities also stood out: Black and Latino children and adults had higher obesity rates than white and Asian populations. One study found that 14.8 percent of high school students in the United States had obesity in 2017, with the rate being as high as 18.2 percent for black or Latino kids, compared with 12.5 percent of their white peers.

While the obesity epidemic can seem dire, there have been some encouraging developments. For example, obesity rates among 2-to-4-year-olds enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) dropped by about 1.5 percent from 2010 to 2014. In fact, some studies are showing that communities that encourage physical activity and healthy nutrition are reporting lower odds of obesity among kids and adults, demonstrating that communities and states that support collaborations and innovative policies can experience reductions in obesity.

In recent years, policymakers have taken steps such as updating menu labeling rules and Nutrition Facts labels, and implementing other new approaches, including the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. But some efforts have been weakened or reversed, and federal budget proposals include deep cuts to key health programs that would eliminate funding for addressing obesity, nutrition and physical activity.

Regarding obesity prevention, the TFAH and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report recommends three guiding principles: promote policies and scale programs that take a multi-sector approach; adopt and implement policies that help make the healthy choice the easy choice; and invest in programs that level the playing field for all individuals and families.

The report offers specific recommendations to the healthcare system and providers, food and restaurant sectors, state and local policymakers and federal policymakers including congress and the administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For more information regarding the report go to tfah.org.


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