MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new study shows two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. The study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found waist lines have increased considerably over the past two decades. Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis studied data over a five year period ending in 2012.

On a warm Monday evening, people walking, running or biking is often what you find in Minnesota.

“I think everybody just is really conscious,” Dee Wigfield said.

Scott Jansen and his wife walked to dinner instead of driving.

“It’s something that’s constantly on our mind and even from just eating right and getting out on a day like today,” Jansen said.

Still the obesity numbers nationally are concerning to registered dietician Sue Moores. The study found 75-percent of men and 67-percent of women are overweight or obese.

“It’s definitely diet, there’s certainly physical activity in the mix, I think our lifestyle is in the mix too,” Moores said.

Obesity is linked to a number of health problems. Researchers felt priority needs to be put on living an active and healthy life. Moores said change starts with a small step.

“It’s as simple as standing a little bit more during your job, it can be as simple as, and one of my favorites, as bringing one new food into your house every week.”

Minnesota fares better than the rest of the upper Midwest states. It’s the only state to trim trim its obesity rate since 2007. And, across the board the Minnesota Department of Health found the obesity rate has stayed below 26-percent since 2010.

“We’re making these big initiatives with walking paths and biking paths and trying to get accessibility of food into communities, so little by little that’s making that change,” Moores said.

Minnesotans living at a healthy weight increased by more than 60,000 in 2013, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. That’s 11-percent higher than the nation as a whole. And the department reports holding the state obesity rate steady saved approximately $265 million in obesity related medical expenses. The Health Commissioner thinks it could be tied to the states investment in increasing opportunities for healthy eating and exercise.

Jennifer Mayerle

Comments (3)