Vermont was just ranked one of the best states in the nation this month in terms of obesity by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. But upon taking a closer look, it’s not something to be proud of as Vermont is really just the best of the worst.
This is because more than a quarter of our population – 25.1% -- is obese. It’s a disturbing trend given that Vermont’s obesity rates are still climbing – up from 10.7% in 1990 and 17% in 2000.
The report also notes that if current trends continue, Vermont’s 38,031 cases of heart disease could climb to 190,617 by 2030 and the 10,273 cases of obesity-related cancer could climb to 27,751 cases.
There is good news to be sure. The number of high school students who drink one soda or more a day has dropped by nearly 40 percent since 2007, to around one in five. But, the number of high school students who report playing video or computer games three or more hours a day has increased more than 88 percent since 2003 from 22.1 to 41.7 percent.
There is still more work to be done. We hope you’ll support our policy efforts to reduce obesity and improve healthy weights this coming session. Two very important efforts will be setting nutrition standards for restaurant kids’ meals and encouraging the state to include physical education in its state accountability plans required by the Every student Succeeds Act. These measures will help make the healthy choice the easy choice for Vermont kids.
Tell your legislator you hope they'll make reducing obesity a priority this coming session. You can find them here. http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/search/2016