Obesity Rates Increasing Across Kentucky

A recent report finds America's obesity problem is getting worse and southern states are 9 of the top 10 obese states.

The report by Trust For America's Health found Kentucky as the fifth heaviest state in the nation and obesity rates have only increased across the Bluegrass over the past year.

Obesity rates across the nation still do not meet the government's national goal of reducing obesity rates to 15 percent by the year 2010.

"Our obesity crisis starts almost at birth. We tend to have a diet that's very high in fat and high in empty calories here in Eastern Kentucky," said Jackie Fraley, Director of Dietetic Services at Whitesburg ARH.

Fraley says hard work can help the nearly 30 percent of Kentuckians who are obese.

"Quite frankly, you are what you eat," Fraley said.

Fraley says we should all consume a balanced diet of calories, protein and fat.

"A lot of medical problems are related and caused by obesity," said Dr. Magued Khouzam, Surgeon at Whitesburg ARH.

Doctors say diabetes, hypertension, and joint pain are just some of the medical issues that can arise from being overweight. Dr. Khouzam says obesity is reversible.

"Two key things, diet and exercise, it’s not a magic formula," said Dr. Khouzam.

Now Kentucky is working to sustain policies to help decrease the obesity rate, such as removing sodas from schools.

"Change some of the diet habits, because it doesn't become a habit, until we do it over and over," Fraley said.

Fraley added crash diets do not work for maintaining a healthy life or for fixing the nation's obesity rate. For more information on the Trust For America's Health report, you can log on to their website at http://www.healthyamericans.org.

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