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Idaho Slips In Obesity Ranking, Survey Says

Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s obesity rate is on the rise again. It now ranks as the 32nd most obese state in the country according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The group’s latest survey shows more than 29 percent of state residents qualified as obese last year – the highest rate since 2014.

“I feel like we’re still in a pretty good place. It’s leveled off pretty good,” says Ivie Smart, who oversees the physical activity and nutrition program for the state health department.

She says Idaho, like the rest of the country, has leveled off its obesity rate with little fluctuation.

“I don’t feel like it’s been a significant jump over the last several years,” Smart says.

To drive that rate down, she is trying to teach kids how to eat better and exercise more.

She’s also trying to convince businesses to let workers take exercise breaks – which can make them more productive and potentially bring down health insurance costs.

Colorado ranks as the least obese state in the U.S., with about 23 percent of residents falling into that category. More than 38 percent of West Virginians qualify as obese, putting it at the top of the list.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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