Knox County "Weighs" In
Obesity is now recognized to be among the top global public health issues. Obesity is defined as excessive or abnormal fat accumulation that impacts one’s health. Over the past four decades, the worldwide obesity rate has nearly tripled. In response, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report that noted that obesity has risen to epidemic proportions from a global perspective. In 2016, the WHO reported there were more than 650 million overweight adults impacted by extra weight. Experts anticipate that by the year 2025, there will be more than 1 billion obese adults. What does that mean for Tennessee?
In 2020, it was estimated that the adult obesity population in the United States was the highest ever - exceeding 40% for the first time. However, as one would expect, obesity rates vary among states. Adult obesity rates in Tennessee are among the highest, with more than 35% of adults with a BMI in the obesity category, compared to Colorado with about 24%, the lowest in the nation. The severity of obesity is concerning because as recently as 2000, there were no states with adult obesity rates above 25%! Demographic trends in Tennessee reveal that rural or less-educated residents are among those with the highest obesity rates.
Obesity in Knox County, Tennessee
DietSpotlight, a highly-trafficked health and wellness site, recently shared data on men and women across the United States who’re searching for help with losing weight.
Here’s what they found:
Men in Knox County tend to weigh around 222 pounds. They have a body mass index (BMI) of 31.0 - just above the obese rating.
Women weigh around 194 pounds and have a BMI of 32.2. Nearly identical to men in the county.
As for the overall county population, residents should lose around 57 pounds to reach a “healthy” weight. “That’s 6% lower than the state average of 61 pounds and 3% lower than then country average of 59 pounds,” according to DietSpotlight.
The University of Tennessee’s Extension Family/Consumer Sciences (UT) champions the state’s efforts to address obesity. Along with the CDC, UT administers the High Obesity Program (HOP) that covers four counties in western Tennessee. The Tennessee Nutrition & Consumer Education Program (TNCEP) is a state-managed (TDHS) & USDA-funded program for those receiving SNAP assistance. The program seeks to help SNAP recipients make better choices with regard to nutrition and physical activity. Better lifestyle choices reduce the chances of getting one of the likely preventable, obesity-related conditions.