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Obesity rate in Minnesota goes up, while holding mostly steady nationwide

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The adult obesity rate remained mostly steady nationwide, but increased in five states – including Minnesota.

That's according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America report released Monday, which found obesity rates are still high in the United States.

More than 30 percent of adults, nearly 17 percent of 2- to 19-year-olds, and more than 8 percent of children ages 2-5 are obese, which puts them at a higher risk of various health problems and increased medical costs, a news release notes.

Despite the rate of obesity in Minnesota adults increasing from 16.4 percent in 2000 to 27.6 percent in 2014, Minnesota is still among the states with the lowest obesity rate – the 15th lowest out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Minnesota increased by 2.1 percentage points compared to last year, which was the second-largest increase. The other states that saw obesity rates in adults rise were: Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio and Utah.

These results were disappointing for state health officials who have worked to make healthier choices easier for Minnesotans through the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), the Star Tribune reports. Despite that, health officials told the newspaper that efforts with SHIP are working – obesity prevention efforts reduced medical costs by $265 million from 2010-2013, the state Department of Health says.

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Obesity rates vary by age, race

The report found obesity rates also differ by age and race. Nationally, obesity rates are 38 percent higher among blacks than whites, and more than 26 percent higher among Latinos than their white counterparts.

That's mirrored in Minnesota, where the obesity rate for blacks is 31.2 percent, and 31.7 percent for Latinos – while the white obesity rate is 26.1 percent.

However, there are signs of some progress in Minnesota, the report says. When it comes to childhood obesity, Minnesota was among 18 states that saw a decline in obesity rates among 2- to 4-year-olds from low-income families between 2008-2011. The obesity rate for kids during that time fell from 13.4 percent to 12.6 percent.

The State of Obesity report is from the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which aim to improve health and prevent disease in the United States.

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