Freshman 15? What about the COVID 15? Iowa’s obesity rate inches up


DES MOINES, Iowa — Blame the COVID-19 pandemic, bad diets, not enough exercise or a combination of all three but Iowans climbed a dubious list as their weight climbed: the state now has the seventh highest rate of obesity in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Iowa Adult Obesity Rate

2011: 29%

2019: 34%

2020: 36.5%

“I wasn’t surprised,” Iowa Healthiest State Initiative Executive Director Jami Haberl acknowledged about the swelling numbers.

“It’s always disheartening when you see negative numbers coming from the state of Iowa,” she said.

People working and isolating from home, dealing with the stress of the pandemic and not moving around like they could added to the rising obesity numbers, Haberl believes.

Watch Haberl explain COVID-19’s impact on obesity here.

Another factor that doesn’t help Iowans’ waistlines is that they don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables, Haberl said. Iowans’ consumption of those ranks just 33rd in the country.

Haberl encourages people to sign up for the Healthiest State 11th Annual Walk. It’s free and takes place on Oct. 6. Walkers pledge to walk on that day. They can do it individually or with a group. And they can do it wherever they choose.

Here is more information about the walk and to register.

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