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Florida Still Fat, Report Says

Mark Lennihan

According to the latest "F as in Fat" report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Florida still has a serious obesity problem. 

Although the rate decreased slightly from 26.6 percent in 2011 to 25.2 percent in 2012, researchers say the lower numbers aren't statistically significant. They call the changes a "leveling off," not a decrease.

Across the country, every state except for Arkansas had a slightly lower adult obesity rate. Researchers caution there's still a long way to go, and note people who are obese are at risk for much worse health outcomes and higher health costs. 


"The numbers were essentially flat from last year," said Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health. "That's the first time  in the 10 years we've been doing this report, and in the many years the CDC has been following theses trends, that we've seen that kind of leveling off, so that's a very hopeful sign."

There's no "magic bullet" for reducing obesity rates, Levi said.

"It's going to take a continued commitment to the policies that many communities have put in place and others need to as well," Levi said.

According to Levi, that includes:

  • Making sure that all food in schools is healthy.
  • Giving both kids and adults opportunities to be physically active.
  • Providing calorie information on restaurant menus.
  • Promoting more active transportation, like walking and biking.
  • Ensuring people have access to healthy and affordable food close to their home.

"We know that you put those things in place, and the trend starts changing," Levi said.

The report notes that if obesity rates aren't drastically reduced, the current generation of young people may be the first to die younger and sicker than their parents.  

--Health News Florida is part of WUSF Public Media. Contact Lottie Watts at 813-974-8705 (desk) or e-mail For more health news, visit

Copyright 2013 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Lottie Watts covers health and health policy for Health News Florida, now a part of WUSF Public Media. She also produces Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show.
Lottie Watts
Lottie Watts is our Florida Mattersproducer, and she also covers health and health policy for Health News Florida.