Study: Ga. has some of the fattest kids in America - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Study: Ga. has some of the fattest kids in America

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

It's no secret that America's collective waistline is expanding.

Obesity is even becoming an epidemic among children, especially here in Georgia.

New numbers show we're almost at the very bottom when it comes to childhood obesity rates.

The southern region of the US is known for its tasty, deep fried cuisine, but it may be killing its residents slowly.

According to a new Gallup study, the top seven fattest states in the US are in the south.

Georgia ranks 14th overall for obesity, but second when it comes to childhood obesity.

"Our children can potentially live shorter lives than our parents, that's very scary. We want and hope for the best for our children and live healthier lives, but you could be looking at shorter lifespan for children if they're looking at these diseases at earlier ages," said Registered dietitian Julie Joiner.

Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning officials say 41% of Georgia children between 10 and 17 are overweight or obese, leaving some health experts to call for extreme change before it's too late.

Some parents are taking action.

Perry Buchanan of PT Gym in Albany says more parents are signing their kids up for exercise classes to avoid the life threatening complications of this epidemic.

"The parents do see a need. They want to know what they can do on their end to get their kid active and also what they can do nutritional wise when they're home," said Buchanan.

Buchanan says the best way to combat obesity as a kid is to instill play and exercise early in a child's life.

"If a child grows to be 30 years old and has never been physically active, it really makes it hard to establish those news habits," said Buchanan.

Joiner says all hope isn't lost, but there needs to be change.

"I'm seeing more children with diabetes and more children that are battling their weight than less, so we have a long way to go. It's not hopeless, we can do it, but we got lots of changes from a community, family and overall lifestyle standpoint," said Joiner.

Obesity can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, heart Disease, and stroke.

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