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The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Better America (2022) - Special Feature: Food and Nutrition Insecurity Among Youth and Families

September 27, 2022

Obesity rates have been rising for decades across states, ages, sexes, and racial/ethnic groups, with continued increases during the COVID-19 pandemic. These long-term, cross-population trends underscore the nature of the crisis as a population-level problem tied to social, economic, and environmental factors in the United States, most of which are outside of an individual's control. Some of these factors affect available choices and habits directly related to diet, nutrition, and physical activity—for example, the availability, cost, marketing, taste, and accessibility of nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables versus calorie-rich foods like junk food and soda, and the availability, safety, and convenience of active transportation, parks, playgrounds, and facilities for exercise and physical activity. It is also important to consider the role other factors—like stress, discrimination, poverty, economic opportunity, and food insecurity— play in determining the health and well-being of every AmericanThis is the 19th annual report by Trust for America's Health on the obesity crisis in the United States. This year, our special feature highlights food and nutrition insecurity among youth and families. This report, as in previous years, also includes a section that reviews the latest data available on adult and childhood obesity rates, a section that examines key current and emerging policies, and, finally, a section that outlines recommended policy actions.

State of Obesity 2021: Better Policies for a Healthier America

September 15, 2021

In 2020, 16 states had adult obesity rates at or above 35 percent, up from 12 states the previous year. These and other emerging data show that the COVID-19 pandemic changed eating habits, worsened levels of food insecurity, created obstacles to physical activity, and heightened stress, all exacerbating the decades long pattern of obesity in America.This report is based in part on newly released 2020 data from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System and analysis by Trust for America's Health (TFAH). It provides an annual snapshot of rates of overweight and obesity by age, race/ethnicity and state of residence for U.S. adults. In the report, TFAH calls for addressing the social determinants of obesity, for example, by ensuring access to no cost healthy school meals for all students, a program started during the pandemic.

A Funding Crisis for Public Health and Safety: State-by-State and Federal Public Health Funding Facts and Recommendations 2018

March 1, 2018

A healthy United States is a strong United States. A prepared nation is a safe nation. But persistent underfunding of the country's public health system has left the nation vulnerable.

Ready or Not? Protecting the Public From Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism 2017

December 1, 2017

In the 16 years since the 9/11 and anthrax tragedies, the country has had countless reminders demonstrating the need for a sufficient response to the public's health needs during major incidents—be they caused by extreme weather events, disease outbreaks or a contaminated food supply.The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season was particularly historic. After Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, it hovered over Houston for days—dropping several feet of rain that caused unprecedented flooding and sank the Earth's crust around Houston two centimeters. Harvey was followed by two Category 5 storms–Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which had a profound impact on many Caribbean nations, Puerto Rico, the Florida Keys and other areas in the region. Out West, rain was scarce as communities were ravaged by one of the worst wildfire seasons ever.The fast-moving blaze in California's wine country killed 43 people, scorched 250,000 square miles and destroyed 8,900 structures.Despite the frequency of health threats, often the country is not adequately prepared to address them, even with all the prior lessons about what is needed for an effective response. Emergencies are a matter of when, not if; there is no reason to continue to be caught off guard when a new threat arises.The good news is that considerable progress has been made to effectively prepare for and respond to public health emergencies of all types and sizes,and much of what it takes to prepare for bioterrorism, major disease threats or major disasters is also essential to respond to ongoing health threats. The bad news is that the accomplishments achieved to improve public health and preparedness for all hazards are being undermined due to severe budget cuts and lack of prioritization.