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Consistent with trends nationwide, obesity rates in Virginia have generally been steadily rising for the last decade and more. Within Virginia, obesity rates also rose in most regions in 2014, although many had seen their rates decline at least once across 2011-2013.
Like many states, Virginia's efforts to embrace these updated standards and best practices for preventing obesity are still a work in progress. At particular risk are Baby Boomers (those born between 1945 and 1964), who not only represent a bulge in the overall population, but are as a generation reaching those years where obesity-related illnesses, such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, tend to manifest themselves. However, this same study found that losing just a small amount of weight could significantly alter outcomes.
NOTE: 2011-2014 BRFSS results cannot be compared to earlier years because of changes in the sampling methodology. See the Data Sources and Updates Calendar for a detailed list of the data resources used for indicator measures on Virginia Performs.
HealthBites is an interactive website from VDH to help users learn more about providing the best nutritional care for their children, from infancy on up.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture coordinates the state's Farm-to-School program, which promotes opportunities for schools, distributors and growers to work together to increase the volume of locally grown foods served in school cafeterias and dining halls at all levels of education. The most troubling issue is that the trend is going in the wrong direction; more and more people in the United States become overweight as the years pass. Kathryn McManus, WriterSenior Hallie Wilde has been dancing since she was three, and now she is passing on her passion for dance to children with special needs here in Madison. Although the state's obesity rate declined two percentage points from 2011-2013, it rose again by nearly that same amount in 2014, to 28.5 percent -- ranking the state 20th nationally.


In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which reauthorized federal child nutrition programs such as National School Lunch and National School Breakfast, eased and expanded access, strengthened and updated nutritional standards, and initiated efforts to bring fresh, local produce into school-provided meals.
According to various sources, the Commonwealth has a vigorous Farm-to-School program and has implemented several of the recommended policies to encourage healthy eating and physical activity. The rate of obese Baby Boomers in Virginia is 34.2 percent, more than 5 percentage points higher than the overall adult obesity rate.
An adult is considered obese if his or her body mass index (a measurement of fatty to lean tissue) is 30 or above. For instance, if average BMI is reduced by 5 percent by 2020 in the Commonwealth, over 345,000 cases of obesity-related disease could be avoided, for a potential cost savings of nearly $6.3 billion.
The state also participates in programs, such as National School Lunch, National School Breakfast, and Farm-to-School, that set high standards for foods served in the public schools. The site offers fun, informative videos on nutrition and ideas for simple, healthy recipes; WIC participants can complete modules to receive nutrition education credit. The scariest consequence about America’s losing battle with obesity, besides the rampant diabetes, heart attacks and joint problems, is the safety of our country.
The military projects that by the year 2020 that miniscule 10% could rise to as high as 50% of applicants.
The Northern region had the lowest rate of obesity at 21.2 percent and was the only region with a rate below the statewide average. A related initiative, Smart Snacks in School, was launched in 2013 to set nutritional standards in public school foods sold a la carte, for fundraisers, and in vending machines. If Virginia could reduce the average body mass index (BMI) of its residents by just 5 percent, for example, the state could help prevent thousands of cases of Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension, cancer, and arthritis.


In about five years, so many young Americans will be so overweight that the military may be unable to recruit enough qualified soldiers. The problem is so worrisome for the military that recruiters have become fitness coaches for applicants just so they can make the cut. Military generals say that obesity is becoming a national security issue and must be stopped before it jeopardizes our country’s security.
Our country has clearly lost its perspective on what’s normal when it comes to a healthy weight that it is becoming a problem of national security.
For a 6-foot-tall person weighing 200 pounds, a 5 percent reduction in BMI would be the equivalent of losing approximately 10 pounds. Of the 195,000 young men and women who signed up to fight for the United States, only 72,000 qualified. While many did not make the cut because of a criminal background or a lack of education, a full 10% of applicants did not qualify because they were so overweight. While the statistic of 10% of applicants being overweight is not a massive amount of people, the army is actually worried about the projections of how many more people are going to be overweight in the future.



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