Georgia twelfth fattest state in the country - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia twelfth fattest state in the country

July 24, 2007

Albany--When it comes to being healthy, Georgia almost ranks dead last. A recent study by The CalorieLab shows Georgia is the twelfth fattest state in the country with nearly 63% of the population overweight or obese.

Children in Georgia are facing similar overweight problems. The Georgia Department of Human Resources found that thirteen percent of middle school students are already overweight.

And unfortunately, those numbers aren't improving as kids get older.

Obesity among children is a growing problem especially in the south.

"I want stay fit and stay in shape now before it's too late," says 16-year-old Christopher Frazier.  He stays active in order to keep from packing on the pounds.

 "Most of the time, I go outside and play with my brothers and sisters. We'll ride our bicycles and then we'll play football with our mama and daddy," says Frazier.

But most kids aren't nearly as active as Frazier.

"There are so many more things in a child's life than there were fifteen, twenty years ago. There's television, computers, the Internet, Xbox. There's so many other distractions that kids just don't go out and play like they used to," says Albany Director of Recreation, Suzanne Davis. She says the lack of exercise increases a child's chance of becoming obese later in life.

"Childhood obesity is such a huge issue that it's just important to stress the importance of fitness and health in youth," says Davis.

Something Frazier has caught on early.

"You getting out there and playing and stuff is going to burn fat," says Frazier.

More than two million people in Georgia are considered obese. Not wanting to be another statistic, Frazier continues to exercise regularly because he knows:

"It's good for you," he says.

More than two billion dollars is spent on obesity-related illnesses each year in Georgia.

A study by the Georgia Department of Human Resources also revealed that children from rural areas are more likely to be obese than children from metropolitan areas. 

That same study also found that one in four Georgia third graders were obese--that's almost five times the percentage of obese third graders in the US.

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