<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> NC Progress Watch
 ProgressWatch  Weight

  A snapshot of issues affecting North Carolina

Obesity is not just a matter of personal health—it is a costly and deadly public health concern affecting economic productivity, state budgets and personal and family well being.
Competitive Status
North Carolina ’s obesity rate has fallen over the last 12 years from 113% to 105% of the national average. Since 2000, North Carolina’s obesity rankings have improved from 40 th to 37 th in the nation, and from 4 th to 3 rd in the Southeast region (See Scorecard for more information)

Progress Story
After school each day, Joshua's mother Joyce would fix him a snack, usually cookies and milk. Joshua would eat while he worked on homework before watching television for the evening. One day, Joshua fell asleep at the kitchen table. Worried, his mother took him to the doctor the next morning. After a few tests, the doctor found Joshua was considered overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 and had Type II diabetes. Joyce, also overweight, was willing to do whatever it took to get her son well. The doctor prescribed insulin therapy and a diet with more fruits and vegetables combined with daily physical activity. The family began eating more meals at home, snacking less, exercising more and watching less television. Within eight weeks, Joshua lost 15 pounds, reducing his BMI to 24 and was able to control the diabetes without insulin. Joyce also lost a lot of weight. Overall, the two reported feeling better and enjoying life more!

Obesity has moved from an issue of personal health to a costly and deadly public health concern affecting economic productivity, fiscal initiatives and overall well being.

Thirty percent of U.S. adults 20 years of age and older-over 60 million people-are obese (National Center for Health Statistics). If this trend is not reversed within 50 years, obesity could cut average lifespan by 2-5 years. Together obesity, poor nutrition and/or physical activity:

  • Incur annual healthcare costs of $117 billion in US and $2.1 billion in NC [1]
  • Account for about 10% of Medicaid costs
  • Increase an individual’s healthcare costs by 36% and medication costs by 77 %
  • Increases risk for certain health problems (i.e. hypertension, Type II diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea & respiratory problems) with the average American adult spending $350 annually on obesity related medical treatmen
  • Elevates chances for at-risk and overweight children to suffer from depression, anxiety, social angst, diabetes and other health problems, and they are more likely to grow up to be obese adults. An overweight child in NC is likely to require over $200,000 in added medical expenses in his or her lifetime
  • [1] RTI International 2004 Study

This issue affects particular segments of the state in different ways. (Click to learn more)

Several organizations are working to address this issue in NC, including: NC Dept. of Health and Human Services, counties and school districts. (Click to learn more)

Center for Disease Control
North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund
Fit Together North Carolina
Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina
Be Active North Carolina
Be Active Kids
Land and Water Conservation Fund

Imperative 1: Healthy Children and Families
     Goal 1.2: Encourage Healthy Lifestyles

Other NCPB products for this issue:
  ProgressIssues   ProgressIdeas
  ProgressProfile   ProgressDigest