(09/27/2012)
West Virginia is on track to nearly double its already high obesity rate by 2030, according to a report released by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The increase in the state's obesity rate, which is among the worst in America, will mean more people with obesity-related diseases and increases in health care costs, says the report.

West Virginia's adult obesity rate in 2011 was 32.4 percent of the population.

The latest report says that number could reach 60.2 percent if the rate continues on its current trajectory.

A report regarding obesity in 5th graders said Calhoun's school children reached 30%, while WV schools are attempting to attack the problem.

Thirteen states in all could have obesity rates that top 60 percent, according to the report.

Over the next two decades in West Virginia, obesity could contribute to 282,164 new cases of type 2 diabetes, 659,007 new cases of coronary heart disease and stroke, 558,316 new cases of hypertension, 347,324 new cases of arthritis and 88,983 new cases of obesity-related cancer, according to the report.

The increased obesity rate could lead to a 12 percent increase in health care costs.

If the average body mass index in West Virginia fell by 5 percent, the state could save $3.6 billion, or 6.8 percent, in health care costs by 2030.

The report says there could be positive results with the state implementing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, supporting healthy nutrition in federal food programs, encouraging full use of preventive health care services and providing support beyond the physician's office.

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