Combating childhood obesity is one key to a healthy future for Wisconsin. Wisconsin ranks right in the middle for rates of adult obesity. But, Dr. Alexandria Adams with the UW's Department of Family Medicine says that only tells part of the picture, because rates of childhood obesity are also on the increase.
"I think in the states that we do have good data – and our state hopes to be one of those with third graders soon – we are seeing fairly comparable levels. In other words, when you see high (adult obesity) levels in a state, the childhood levels are also going to be high."
Adams says the epidemic of childhood obesity does not bode well for adult obesity rates, as well as for adult diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Still, she remains optimistic that obesity rates can be brought down. She says limiting the availability of sugared beverages and increasing the amount of physical activity in schools now will mean fewer obese adults in the future.
Annual rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation place Wisconsin 25th in rates of adult obesity. Mississippi ranked the worst, Colorado the best.