The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement showing that our nation’s obesity epidemic is getting worse. In 2019, Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps show 12 states now have adult obesity rates at or above 25%: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. This is up from nine states in 2018 and six states in 2017.
One of the sad truths about the COVID-19 pandemic is that we’ve learned our obesity and diabetes co-morbidities increase the risk of COVID-19 complications, and the CDC has gone even further by showing the connection between obesity and race and ethnicity related to COVID-19 risks in its most recent statement. In fact, 34 states and the District of Columbia have an obesity prevalence of 35% or higher Black adults, and 15 states have an obesity prevalence of 35% or higher among Hispanic adults, while six states have an obesity prevalence of 35% or higher among White adults.
In other words, members of minority groups are disproportionally impacted by obesity and thus are more likely to have increased COVID-19 complications.
This happens for a variety of reasons. Nutrition is a key factor in preventing chronic diseases and conditions, as numerous studies on low carb diets have shown. However, many Americans do not have access to or the budget for healthy food, which makes it more difficult to eat healthy diets.
What’s even more challenging? Our Dietary Guidelines are geared toward healthy adults, when two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, with Black and Hispanic adults accounting for the largest percentage. With so much of the population suffering from diet-related conditions, our Dietary Guidelines should reflect this. As I have written about many times before, lower carbohydrate, higher fat diets have rigorous science behind them for the management and even treatment of obesity, prediabetes and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurological conditions. Hopefully, these new sobering statistics from the CDC and the heightened importance that nutrition plays when it comes to building a healthy immune system and maintaining a healthy weight will continue to fuel the fire in our quest to update the Dietary Guidelines to reflect the current health of our population.
What can we do now? Well, our tips are right in line with the CDC’s most recent recommendations: