Obesity hits South hard - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Obesity hits South hard

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America's waistline is expanding at an incredible rate. Registered Dietitian Sarah Shiver says it's a bigger problem than we think.

"I would consider it an epidemic. Not only are we seeing more adults overweight but more and more kids are overweight, which in turn puts them at risk to be overweight as adults," said Shiver.

Georgia is tied with South Dakota for the 17th fattest state with 28.7% of the population being obese.

In fact, the top six fattest states are in the South with Mississippi leading the way with 34.4% of its population being obese.

Eight of the top ten fattest states are in the South. So what makes the South a hot spot for obesity?

"I think our culture in the South can be different than other parts of the country, the way we cook our foods and our physical activity habits. We're not as active as people in other parts of the country," said Shiver.

Ten years ago, no state had an obesity rate above 24%, and now 43 states have higher obesity rates than the top state in the year 2000.

"We're less active as a society. Our food choices have changed over time. We have a lot of more conveniences these days with fast food," said Shiver.

Obesity can lead to health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure. Shiver says eat within reason.

"Watch your portions. Enjoy your food but enjoy less of it," said Shiver.

If you were wondering, Colorado is the thinnest states with 19.8% of its population being obese.

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