More than a quarter of New Jersey adults are grossly overweight.

In an annual snapshot from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released Thursday, New Jersey registered an obesity rate of 27.4 percent among adults.

In this Jan. 20, 2010, file photo, a waist is measured during an obesity prevention study at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

The Garden State has the 14th-lowest rate in the nation, which is good or bad news, depending on how you look at it.

Adult obesity rates now exceed 35 percent in five states — West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana. Rates are below 25 percent in only three states — Colorado, Massachusetts and Hawaii — plus the District of Columbia.

This is the fourth straight year New Jersey's rate registered between 25 and 28 percent. It was 17 percent in the year 2000, the report shows.

"People can work on the issue of obesity at all ages," John Auerbach, president of the Trust for America's Health, told New Jersey 101.5. "We certainly want children to get off to a healthy start, but adults certainly can work on reducing their weight."

More than any other adult age range, 45 to 64-year-olds registered the highest obesity rate in New Jersey — 32.9 percent. The youngest, 18 to 25, registered the lowest rate.

New Jersey ranks in the report among the bottom 10 states for physical inactivity. The diabetes rate among adults is 9.2 percent, compared to 6.3 percent in 2000. The state was found to be in good standing with the majority of key policies that can prevent obesity.

Responding to the report, the New Jersey Department of Health said it has been focused, along with sister agencies and partners across the state, on reducing obesity by supporting efforts that encourage physical activity and healthy food choices.

The state's Population Health Action Team, consisting of Christie Administration cabinet members, has a key priority of "making the healthy choice the easy choice," the department said. A list of ongoing initiatives can be found here.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.


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