Nearly 27 percent (26.9%) of New Jersey residents are obese according to a recent analysis by The Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
That obesity percentage places New Jersey 41st out of 51 states and the District of Columbia. New Jerseyans are in slightly better shape than residents of Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York where the obesity rankings are 17th, 20th and 39th respectively. The bad news is that the obesity rate in all four states is trending upward compared to 2010.
The fact that over one in four NJ residents is obese is reflected in the rate of disease associated with obesity. The study shows that New Jersey ranks 28th in rate of diabetes (9.7%) and 30th in hypertension with a rate of 31.1 percent.
Lisa Scheetz, Director of Operations and Chief Operating Officer of the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA is optimistic because of efforts taking place across the state to promote healthy eating and help residents be more active. She points to programs such as the YMCA’s Healthy U and the healthy corner store initiative spearheaded by the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids (NJPHK) as evidence of successful interventions that are having an impact in Vineland and throughout New Jersey.
“Over 700 kids in Vineland receive extra physical education each day attending YMCA after school programs. As more kids get moving, physical activity will become a daily life habit,” Scheetz said. She also is hopeful that the food landscape in Vineland is headed toward change. “We have 25 corner stores in Vineland that are committed to stocking healthy snacks and food. Now when parents and children visit their corner store, more healthy choices are available to them.”