Ohio Outpaces Most States in Adult Obesity Rates

Ohio Outpaces Most States in Adult Obesity Rates

A continued increase in the number of adults in Ohio who are obese has heavy consequences, says Dianne Schneider RD, LD, CDE, Dietitian/Diabetes Educator for TriHealth.

Ohio ranks eighth in the country for its rate of adults with obesity, climbing more than 2 percent in the past year to 32.6 percent when almost all states’ rates stayed flat. If rates continue to increase, medical costs and pressures on health care providers will also increase. “It’ll stress everyone to the maximum; as obesity rises, these areas get stressed even more,” Schneider says.

It’ll take widespread change in eating habits and everyday lifestyle to turn the tables, but that’s not out of reach, Schneider says.

The Facts

The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America analysis, which looked at data from 1990 to 2014, defines obesity as a body mass index of 30 or higher. According to the report:

  • Ohio’s adult obesity rate of 32.6 percent has increased from 20.6 percent in 2000 and 11.3 percent in 1990.
  • Ohio is one of only five states that saw an increase in the past year; the others are Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico and Utah.
  • Twenty-three of 25 states with the highest obesity rates are in the South and Midwest. Arkansas has the highest rate in the U.S. with 35.9 percent of its population considered obese.

The Risks

Obesity can lead to serious health issues, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity-related cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Stroke

Not only that, but it also takes a toll on mental health. “People don’t realize it can be very isolating; (obese individuals) don’t feel well, they can’t get out of the house … they can’t work,” Schneider says. “All of that has its impact.”

What Should We Do?

There’s good news! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even a modest amount of weight loss – 5 to 10 percent of overall body weight – can produce health benefits, such as improved blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugars. It can also reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases related to obesity.

“I think the main thing to remember is if we make small lifestyle changes, it can result in a lifetime of better health,” Schneider says. “Even small changes make a difference.”

It doesn’t have to be complicated, she says. Think: How can I take what I’m doing and make it better over time? Evolve your habits to eat healthier, incorporate 150 minutes of exercise each week and keep your portion sizes in check.

“My motto is anything in moderation. If you want Starbucks (frappacinos), that’s fine. Have them as a treat. Don’t have them every day.” 

To provide adults with even more assistance in making these changes, TriHealth offers a $20 hour and a half class with a dietitian for those considered pre-diabetic, or at risk of developing diabetes. The class aims to set patients on the right path to lose weight and get healthier so they don’t become diabetic in the future.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity: Losing Weight
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Last Updated: October 15, 2015