Georgia obesity rates steadily rising - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia obesity rates steadily rising

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May 21, 2005

Albany-- A growing trend has officials concerned about your health. Nearly one in ten deaths in Georgia is related to obesity and state health officials want to take steps to reverse those trends. To get citizens to take charge of their health, a ten year plan has been instituted.  Health officials all agree, the way to get those weights down begins with getting up.

"This is major news that we rank very, very high. 60 percent of the population is overweight," says Georgia on the Move's state coordinator Pamela Jackson. Georgia is sixth in the nation. A study by the Georgia Division of Public Health shows that the higher weights are the cause of higher health care costs.

"The cost exceeded 2.1 billion dollars in Georgia alone because of obesity related illnesses. That's why we're focusing more now on prevention," says Jackson. Pamela Jackson serves as State Coordinator for Georgia on the Move, a new initiative that urges citizens to get healthy. "We're just telling people to move more and eat less. If you increase your steps by 2000 a day and decrease your calories by 100 a day, that will stop your weight gain," says Jackson.

To get that weight down, trainers says there's two main factors. One begins with a good exercise routine. "It keeps you healthy. You don't get sick as often. You feel better about yourself," says fitness consultant Bill Baumgartel.

 A key to getting those benefits begin with a good cardiovascular routine. "This right here [the elliptical machine] is more of a total body workout right here. You can do your arms and your legs at the same time," says Baumgartel.

It allows you to burn both calories and fat. Another way is to do a little bit of weight training which is very important. "When you're trying to tone up and lose weight, you want to do high reps, somewhere between 12 and 14 reps," says Baumgartel.

You want to hit all the major parts from the arms to the stomach. But the second major factor to losing weight begins before hitting the gym. "A good diet, eating six small meals a day would be a great way of losing weight. It keeps your metabolism up," says Baumgartel.

Up is the key word that may help to get the obesity rate down in Georgia. "If gardening is what you do, garden. If you like to walk, walk. If you run, run. Whatever it is you do, just get off the couch and get moving for better health," says Jackson.

Jackson also says that you can do little things to get healthy. Using a pedometer to track your steps can improve your health significantly. The goal is 10,000 steps a day.

The statewide plan serves to improve the health and nutrition trends of citizens all over the state.

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