A report by two public health groups has found obesity is a growing problem in South Carolina.
Nearly 31 percent of South Carolinians are considered obese, according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health. That is the eighth-highest rate in the country, and roughly 10 percentage points higher than even a decade ago.
The report says 66 percent of the state is overweight. South Carolina also ranks in the top ten for rates of diabetes and high blood pressure. Mississippi has the highest rate of obesity (34.4 percent), while Colorado is the lowest (19.8). However, every state has seen an increase in the percentage of people who are obese since 2000.
With the exception of Michigan, the 10 worst states are all in the South. Southern states also topped the list for diabetes and hypertension rates.
The foundation is recommending that healthier food be served in school lunches as one way to cut down on childhood obesity. About 16 percent of children age 10-to-17 are considered obese in South Carolina. The report also recommends that communities find ways to increase access to higher-quality affordable foods through healthier grocery stores. The authors were concerned that prices for low-nutrient, energy-dense foods (such as soda or fast food) have declined over time, when adjusted for inflation.