New guidelines suggest limiting saturated fat, sodium, sugar (copy)

Trust for America's Health encourages states to raise the price of sugary beverages in an effort to curb obesity rates. File

A new report shows the obesity rate in South Carolina is slightly worse than the national percentage with 1 in 3 state state residents having obesity. 

Trust for America's Health, a national health non-profit, published its annual obesity report this month and found that the national adult obesity rate was 30.9 percent. South Carolina's was 34.3 percent. 

The report, referred to as the State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, is based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. It also revealed that 33 states had increases in their rates of adult obesity. 

South Carolina saw only a slight increase in its adult obesity rate between this year's report and last. But the state also went from being ranked 10th to 14th in the same time frame. 

Back in 2012, there weren't any states that had an adult obesity rate over 35 percent. In the current report, Mississippi and West Virginia tied for the No. 1 ranking with an obesity rate of 39.5 percent. 

John Auerbach, president and CEO of Trust for America's Health, explained that this new data highlights that the obesity crisis is getting worse. 

“They tell us that almost 50 years into the upward curve of obesity rates we haven’t yet found the right mix of programs to stop the epidemic," he said in a press release. 

The report also notes that obesity rates are often higher among people of color since they have a higher chance of living in neighborhoods with few options for physical activity and healthy foods.

For South Carolina's black community, the report ranked the state ninth in the nation with an obesity rate of 42.3 percent. 

To address the obesity crisis, Trust for America's Health advises states to consider expanding programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, which has been found to reduce obesity rates in children. 

They also encourage states to increase the price of sugary drinks and to authorize their Medicaid programs to cover pediatric weight management programs that have been proven to be effective. 

Reach Jerrel Floyd at 843-937-5558. Follow him on Twitter @jfloyd134.

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