Obesity in Arizona

A new report just came out detailing U.S. obesity rates. And while the Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study shows that Arizona’s overall rank of 34th was decent (the lower the number, the higher the obesity rate), there were some particular areas where our state fared quite poorly.

From AzCentral.com:

Food advocacy groups said Apache County children had the least reliable access to healthy food in the nation in 2014, when 41.5 percent of children in the county were deemed to be “food insecure.”

But Apache County was just the most extreme example of a problem seen throughout the state, where more than one in four children was in danger of not having enough food or not having access to enough healthy food.

And the problem is not exclusive to Apache County. According to the Arizona Daily Sun, “The state rate of 26.8 percent was third-highest in the nation for childhood food insecurity in 2014, according to “Map the Meal Gap,” a report by Feeding America. The national rate that year was 20.9 percent. Those numbers, first reported in April, were cited again this week in the State of Obesity 2016 report by the Trust for America’s Health, which said food insecurity can contribute to obesity.”

Cronkite News, in Arizona, put together a short video on this issue. Click here or on the picture below to watch it.

food

The accompanying Cronkite News article added

Poverty is one of the main factors behind food insecurity, making it an urban and rural problem. But in remote rural areas – like Apache County – the problem can be compounded by sheer distance to a grocery. The problem affects grownups as well: The food insecurity rate for all ages in Arizona was 17.1 percent in 2014.

“It is very difficult to be in those areas” and have access to healthy food, said Christina Economos, director of the advocacy group ChildObesity180.

“Even if a grocery trip is made once every seven or 10 days, because of transportation and distance, we need to help them get the best foods they can get,” said Economos, speaking at a panel in Washington this week on the need to improve childhood nutrition.

Share your thoughts on the report and what we might be able to do to help all Arizonans access healthier food.  These are the types of health issues we must confront and work together to solve if we truly hope to move the health needle in our state. And the more we move that needle – the closer we get to reaching our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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