Kentucky has the fifth highest adult obesity rate in the U.S.

Kentucky now has the fifth highest adult obesity rate in the nation, according to “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America,” currently at 34.6 percent, up from 21.7 percent in 2000 and from 12.7 percent in 1990.

According to the most recent data, adult obesity rates now exceed 35 percent in four states, are higher than 30 percent in 25 states, and are above 20 percent in all states. Louisiana has the highest adult obesity rate at 36.2 percent and Colorado has the lowest at 20.2 percent.

Between 2014 and 2015, U.S. adult obesity rates decreased in four states (Minnesota, Montana, New York and Ohio), increased in two (Kansas and Kentucky) and remained stable in the rest, according to the report.

The report also looked at childhood obesity (Kentucky ranks eighth in the nation in the percentage of 10- to 17-year-olds that are obese), related health issues (Kentucky is fourth with an adult diabetes rate of 13.4% and sixth with an adult hypertension rate of 39.0%), and other factors.

The State of Obesity is a project of the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For more information, please go online to


Passport sponsors National Healthy Lunch Day around Kentucky to encourage healthy eating

ADA-passport-logoPassport Health Plan and the American Diabetes Association are celebrating National Healthy Lunch Day on Tuesday, Nov. 15, to highlight the importance of good nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle.

As part of the event, which encourages and motivates Kentucky residents to commit to eating a healthy lunch every day, organizations are encouraged to inform and empower their employees or members to eat right with every bite.

“There is quite a bit of confusion about what to eat because many options are full of calories yet lack nutritional value,” says Lisa Bellafato, health educator for Passport Health Plan. “This can contribute to rising rates of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity-related illnesses. Passport Health Plan is proud to sponsor National Healthy Lunch Day and partner with the American Diabetes Association all around the Commonwealth because we feel that this event will help inform and empower our fellow Kentuckians to make smarter food choices and live healthier lives.”

For more information about National Healthy Lunch Day and how you can participate, please click here.


We can all “Step It Up” by taking a walk

Step it Up Ky LogoTaking a walk may be the easiest way to get some exercise and stay healthy. It requires no special equipment, and can be accomplished almost anywhere.

And officials from the Kentucky Department of Health believe making our communities more walkable will translate into making our citizens more healthy. There is plenty of evidence that simply taking a daily walk can help reduce the impact of chronic diseases that afflict so many Kentuckians.

“Getting people to move more starts with improving the places we live, learn, work and play,” said Elaine Russell, coordinator for Kentucky’s Obesity Prevention Program, in this week’s Passport-sponsored article in Insider Louisville. “Communities can be built for people to be active in their everyday life. By providing safe, attractive and convenient places to walk, anybody can incorporate exercise into their daily routine.”

Click here to learn more about “Step It Up, Kentucky!”


CDC lists top 10 U.S. public health issues

CDC imageThe U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has updated its Prevention Status Reports, which ranks the biggest U.S. public health issues.

The Prevention Status Reports organize information on state public health policies and practices in a format that is easy to use for public health professionals, community leaders, and policy makers. The reports allow these individuals to understand their state’s status and identify improvement areas.

According to the reports, the 10 most important public health problems and concerns are (listed alphabetically):

  • Alcohol-related harms
  • Food safety
  • Healthcare-associated infections
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • HIV
  • Motor vehicle injury
  • Nutrition, physician activity and obesity
  • Prescription drug overdose
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Tobacco use

The Prevention Status Reports website also features an interactive map, tables summarizing state data and fact sheets. To learn more, click here.


Obesity prevalence tops 30% of U.S. adults for the first time, according to CDC report

CDC imageThe prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults surpassed 30% for the first time, according to new numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The latest numbers, posted on the CDC website, were taken from an early release of findings from January to September of the National Health Interview Survey.

In comparison, the prevalence of obesity among adults 20 and over in 1997 was just 19.5%.

Researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) cautioned that the data is preliminary and has yet to undergo final editing and weighting.

There was better news when it came to physical activity, with the data showing that 21.1% of U.S. adults met the federal physical activity guidelines for both aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities, up from 16.0% in 2006, according to the report.

For more information, please click here.


Kentucky makes improvements in adult obesity rate, according to new report

Kentucky has seen a decrease in its adult obesity rate, to 31.6 percent in 2014 from 33.2 percent in 2013, causing it to drop to 12th in the nation for adult obesity from fifth, according to the latest State of Obesity Report.

Elaine Russell, the state obesity prevention coordinator, told Melissa Patrick of Kentucky Health News that the decrease can be attributed to no one reason, noting that Kentucky has put a great focus on making sure people have access to healthy foods and physical activity.

“It is a comprehensive effort of many different programs, because we are all working toward the same goal to decrease chronic disease and obesity,” Russell said.

Russell said many of the state’s public-private obesity-related have been key to the success, including: the Diabetes Prevention Program; the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky program; national policy changes to make sure pregnant and post-partum women on the Women Infant and Children nutrition program have access to fresh fruits and vegetables; and more.

To read the full article, please click here.


University of Louisville program focuses on reducing ‘explosion’ of diabetes and obesity

Insider Louisville LogoThanks to advances in medicine and technology, life expectancy in the United States has been increasing every year since medical professionals began keeping statistics. But that progress has stopped recently because of an epidemic of diabetes.

That’s according to Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar, Director of the University of Louisville’s Diabetes and Obesity Center. For eight years, the Center has focused on performing research and preparing and recruiting investigators to study the disease.

“There’s been a virtual explosion from the 1990s to now, and Kentucky has the highest rates of people who are overweight and obese,” Dr. Bhatnagar said in a recent Passport-sponsored article in Insider Louisville. “You can make the case that it is the major public health problem in the U.S. and we are at the center of it.”

For more information, please go online to


Kentucky Has the 12th Highest Adult Obesity Rate in the U.S., New Report Shows

Kentucky now has the 12th highest adult obesity rate in the nation at 31.6 percent, according to “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America,” a report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Across the country, rates increased in five states (Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, and Utah) and remained stable in the rest.

Rates of obesity are above 35 percent for the first time ever in three states (Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi), at or above 30 percent in 22 states, and are not below 21 percent in any. Arkansas had the highest rate of obesity at 35.9 percent, while Colorado had the lowest at 21.3 percent. In 1980, no state had a rate above 15 percent, and in 1991, no state had a rate above 20.

“The State of Obesity”  finds that significant geographic, income, racial and ethnic disparities persist, with obesity rates highest in the South and among Blacks, Latinos and lower-income, less-educated Americans. Obesity puts some 78 million Americans at an increased risk for a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

“Efforts to prevent and reduce obesity over the past decade have made a difference. Stabilizing rates is an accomplishment. However, given the continued high rates, it isn’t time to celebrate,” Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D., executive director of TFAH, said in a release. “We’ve learned that if we invest in effective programs, we can see signs of progress. But, we still haven’t invested enough to really tip the scales yet.”

To help Kentuckians prevent obesity and get healthier, the Commonwealth and the Partnership for a Fit Kentucky have produced an online guide  filled with statistics, tips, and policies that can help improve the overall health of Kentucky and its residents.


More Than One-Third of Diabetes Cases Undiagnosed, New Study Shows

American Diabetes Association logoAccording to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), while diabetes affects up to 14 percent of the U.S. population, more than one-third of cases still go undiagnosed.

“We need to better educate people on the risk factors for diabetes – including older age, family history and obesity – and improve screening for those at high risk,” lead study author Andy Menke, an epidemiologist at Social and Scientific Systems in Silver Spring, Maryland, told Reuters for an article written this week.

The article said that while screening seems to be catching more cases, it is mainly white people who have benefited; for Hispanic and Asian people in particular, more than half of cases still go undetected.

To learn more about the American Diabetes Association, go online to For more information about the prevalence of diabetes in the U.S., click here to read an article from the Journal of the American Medical Assocoation (JAMA).


Study Shows that About 68 Million Americans are Obese

454238423Researchers have found that almost 35% of U.S. men and 37% of U.S. women – or nearly 32 million men and 36 million women – are obese. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, also found that another 40% of men and 30% of women – or more than 36 million men and about 29 million women – are classified as overweight.

Experts note that obesity, a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, is one of the biggest factors that will contribute to a shorter life expectancy for this generation.

“Obesity is not getting better. It’s getting worse, and it’s really scary. It’s not looking pretty,” Lin Yang, a postdoctoral research associate at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, told HealthDay.

The new report used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey gathered between 2007 and 2012, involving more than 15,000 men and women age 25 and older.

Overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 29.9, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BMI is calculated by comparing a person’s weight to their height. For example, a 5-foot-9 man who weighs 169 pounds or a 5-foot-4 woman who weighs 146 pounds both have a BMI of 25 and would be considered overweight, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Obesity is defined by the CDC as a BMI of 30 or higher. A 5-foot-9 man who weighs 203 pounds or more and a 5-foot-4 woman who weighs 175 pounds or more are considered obese.

For more information on obesity, visit the American Heart Association. For more information on this study, please click here.