Without a change, nearly half of Utahns obese by 2030

Report • Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analyze the nation's weight trends.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If current trends continue, nearly half of Utah adults could be obese by 2030, double the amount today, according to a new report released Tuesday.

While Utah would rank as the country's third least-fat state, with 46 percent of adults obese, that is small comfort, according to the report "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012" from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report says the additional cases of obesity could lead to hundreds of thousands of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension, arthritis and obesity-related cancers.

Obesity-related health-care costs in Utah would jump 14 percent or by $639 million.

The projections show Colorado would have the lowest rate of obesity at 45 percent, and Mississippi the highest at 67 percent.

In 2011, 24 percent of Utah adults were considered obese.

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or more. The report said if BMI could be reduced by 5 percent — equivalent to an average-sized person losing about 10 pounds — thousands would be spared from health problems.

A 5 percent reduction in Utah would mean about 41 percent of adults would be obese.

To slow obesity, the report suggests several policies, including providing healthier food in schools and prioritizing physical activity by students.

For more information, go to healthyamericans.org.

Heather May