Who We AreOur Contributions: Statewide Obesity Planning Initiative

Our Contributions: Statewide Obesity Planning Initiative

In 2002, the Sunflower Foundation funded the state’s first convening aimed at charting a plan for addressing the growing obesity epidemic. The convening began work on a state plan to address underlying factors related to obesity.

Since then the state of Kansas has begun semi-annual summits on obesity, to address this growing health issue in the state. Among the statistics surround this issue are:

  • 64 percent of Kansas adults are overweight or obese,
  • 30 percent of Kansas adults are obese,
  • Obesity costs the U.S. nearly $150 billion annually — or 9 percent of medical costs,
  • In Kansas, $1.3 billion per year is spent on obesity-related ailments such as Type II diabetes, heart disease and other complications, and
  • Obesity is a factor in nearly 80 percent of preventable deaths, the second leading factor in the state behind tobacco.

Map of Obesity in the U.S.Fewer than 10 percent of Kansans were obese in 1985. A report released in 2013 indicates that 29.6 percent of Kansans were obese in 2011.

The colors on this CDC map indicate the percentage of people medically designated as obese, or with a Body Mass Index of 30 or greater, from 1985 to 2010. Generally speaking, higher body mass indeces are associated with other health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and hypertension.

The report's authors said obesity is the leading cause in the U.S. of preventable death:

"Obesity is one of the greatest health threats currently facing the United States. It contributes significantly to a variety of serious diseases including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, certain cancers, as well as poor general health."

While obesity rates nationally have been leveling off, the percentage of obese Kansans could double in the next 15 years or so, according to the report.

Highlights of Our Contributions

→ Kansas Clean Indoor Air Act of 2010

→ Vote ‘yes’ on 2 campaign

→ Statewide Obesity Planning Initiative

Cover photo: An aerial photo of Menninger Hill in Topeka, Kansas. The Sunflower Foundation will relocate to Menninger Hill in late 2020. Our home will be located directly south of the Tower Building (pictured in this report).