Friday, July 18, 2008

Obesity Reigns in the South!

"All people spend their lives scratching for food, but they never seem to have enough." - Ecclesiastes 6:7

According to a new government study, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee lead the nation in obesity. More than 30 percent of adults in each of the states tipped the scales (no pun intended) enough to ensure the South remains the nation's fattest region.

The findings are similar to results from the same survey the previous three years. Mississippi has had the highest obesity rate every year since 2004. But Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Louisiana have also clustered near the top of the list and the difference is so close between their rates and Mississippi that it may not be statistically significant!

Why is the South so heavy? The main reason is the traditional Southern diet - high in fat and fried food. The South also has a large concentration of rural residents and black women - two groups that tend to have higher obesity rates - according to Dr. William Dietz, who heads the nutrition, physical activity and obesity division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In addition to a poor diet consisting of Southern favorites like fried chicken, chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, white bread, barbecue and other fried and processed foods, there is a lack of physical activity.

Some people in the South who live in rural areas may not have money or access to biking and hiking trails, fitness centers and other fitness-related activities and programs. In addition, many public schools have cut recess and physical education classes from the budget. Overweight children tend to grow up to be overweight adults. If parents are obese, their children are very likely to follow in their footsteps.

Without a drastic change in the Southern diet and increased physical activity levels, obesity will continue to grow in the South and other areas as well.

Colorado, meanwhile, is a state with a reputation for exercise. It has plentiful biking and hiking trails, and an elevation that causes the body to work harder. Colorado is also the least obese state with 19 percent of the population dealing with ever-expanding waistlines.

The top 10 states with the highest levels of adult obesity (according to the CDC's 2007 report) are:
  1. Mississippi - 32.0%
  2. Alabama - 30.3%
  3. Tennessee - 30.1%
  4. Louisiana - 29.8%
  5. West Virginia - 29.5%
  6. Arkansas - 28.7%
  7. South Carolina - 28.4%
  8. Georgia - 28.2%
  9. Oklahoma - 28.1%
  10. Texas - 28.1%

At Christian Athlete Fitness Training, we utilize individualized training programs that assist with fat loss and provide overall strength and cardiovascular benefits. In addition, we encourage sound nutritional planning and choices to help meet an individual's goals.

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