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The Obesity Epidemic In Connecticut Essay

1652 words - 7 pages

The Obesity Epidemic in ConnecticutAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been an inordinate increase in overweight and obesity in Connecticut and across the country over the past twenty years. It is no wonder why upwards of 300,000 Americans die of obesity-related illnesses each year, over 3,000 of them being Connecticut residents. In attempt to cease the overweight and obesity epidemic in Connecticut, a number of local, state, and federal programs and policies have been established to address such health concerns. There is no single solution to this ever-growing problem; therefore, each state must come to terms with the various factors and policies that contribute to obesity and weight gain. In particular, Connecticut is on the right track to becoming an even healthier state.Overweight and obesity is calculated based on a scale called body mass index (BMI). Calculating BMI is quite simple and requires only two measurements, height and weight. Adults with a BMI above 18.5 but less than 25 are considered normal weight. Those with a BMI ranging from 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight, and those with a BMI greater than 30 are considered obese. Though they do not calculate the percentage of body fat, BMI charts and calculators are among the widely used tools used to identify weight issues and can be found on various websites such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data for Connecticut in 2008, the rate of overweight and obesity combined for adults is an estimated 59.7%, similar to national levels of 63.2%. In regard to obesity alone, Connecticut the second leanest state in the country with a rating of approximately 21.4%. Although this figure is relatively fair, it is also quite troubling, for the elderly, people with disabilities, and young children are among those not taken into account. Approximately one in every four high school students is either obese or overweight; whereas 16% of low income children between the ages of two and five share the same dilemma (YRBSS). Beneficial programs, such as those enforced in Connecticut schools, are among ways to reduce and prevent childhood obesity.Childhood obesity can lead to serious health problems as an adult; therefore, it is essential that certain measures are taken to ensure schools are enforcing proper nutrition. Stricter nutritional standards than the USDA requires have been put into place in Connecticut, as well as eighteen additional states. These standards go beyond school lunches, for Connecticut is also one of 25 states that restricts when competitive foods such as those offered in vending machines are sold or available to students. In 1994, Connecticut began using the Farm to School program which promotes the sale of state grown fresh fruits and vegetables to school districts and other educational institutions (FarmtoSchool). The program strives to serve healthy meals in school...

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