Alabama had the unhealthiest increase, where more than one-quarter of the population is considered obese. The other states with an unhealthy increase in obesity were Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana and Tennessee.
The lowest percentages of obese adults reside in Colorado, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont and Montana.
Health policy analysts say that obesity places a burden on taxpayers because it requires the Medicare and Medicaid programs to cover the treatment of diseases caused by obesity. A report released by the advocacy group, Trust for America's Health, said taxpayers spent $39 (B) billion dollars in 2003 for the treatment of conditions attributed to obesity.
The solution? The report recommends mandatory screening for obesity among Medicaid recipients, as well as nutritional counseling. Executive director of the organization also called for land use plans to promote physical activity, healthier meals served in school lunch programs, and subsidized fitness programs for Medicaid recipients.