Obesity a problem in Muscatine County

Guest column - Diet Spotlight


One of the most common health issues in the modern world is obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to world statistics, in 2016, there are almost 1.9 billion adults (aged 18 and older) who were overweight.

Overall, in the past four years, the prevalence of obesity is 42.4 percent. The countries with the highest number of obese people are the United States, Mexico, and New Zealand. Obesity is considered a serious health issue because it is associated with serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Obesity is especially common among adults aged 40 to 59 years old.

The state of Iowa ranks seventh in the United States for adult obesity. According to official CDC statistics, 65.4 percent of adults living in Iowa are overweight, meaning that they have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher. Also, 28.4 percent of the state’s adult population are obese, with a BMI of 30 or higher. One of the main reasons for such a high prevalence of obesity in Iowa is the lack of physical activity. 24.2 percent of adults reported that they had not participated in any physical activity during the last month.

Typically, obesity numbers are reported on a large-scale basis - like state, country, and worldwide impact. But what about the effect on a smaller scale? What are the people of Muscatine County facing in terms of the obesity epidemic?

Dietspotlight.com, a resource website dedicated to providing researched-based information on fat burners, meal replacements, workout programs, and other weight-loss interventions, recently collected data from visitors to the site from Muscatine County.

Based on the shared data, which was submitted anonymously and voluntarily: Men weigh about 250 pounds and have a BMI of 35.9. Women weigh less at 200 pounds but remain in the obese category with a BMI of 30.5. When we look at the county as a whole, the average person needs to lose upwards of 73.5 pounds to reach a “healthy” weight, based on BMI.

“That’s 11 percent higher than the state average of 66 pounds and 25 percent higher than the country average of 59 pounds,” according to Dietspotlight.

There are numerous programs and initiatives in Iowa that help combat obesity in the state, focused on decreasing the number of obese and overweight populations. One of the initiatives, for example, is Worksite Wellness Toolkit, the purpose of which is to assist small businesses in developing sustainable wellness programs for employees.

There is also Iowa Healthy Communities Initiative: Wellness Grant Program that supports local initiatives to promote wellness and encourage a healthier lifestyle. The University of Iowa also launched Obesity Research and Education Initiative that addresses the prevention and treatment of obesity.

All research used on Dietspotlight is reviewed and approved by a team of medical and nutrition professionals.

Santiago Orozco is a marketing specialist with diet spotlight who contacted the Index to write this story.