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Published on August 5th, 2012 | by The Local

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Obesity Epidemic


Appallingly, our state is one of the most obese in the U.S., 32.2% of adults over the age of eighteen in the state are considered obese (BMI >30), and >20% of Alabama’s children are obese. It has been well-established that overweight and obese individuals have more health problems than the non-obese.

Individuals with weight issues usually have elevated blood pressures, insulin resistance (precursor to diabetes) or diabetes, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea. All of these issues have one common factor: vascular disease, specifically heart attacks and strokes. With increasing weight, the likelihood of developing these diseases elevates drastically.

In our area of the state, we have continued to eat the same high caloric foods that our grandparents and great-grandparents ate. The difference is they worked in the fields and burned off those calories. Now, we are more sedentary with our jobs and lifestyle, but our diets have not changed. These same lifestyle choices are passed down to our children.
Thus, the future is grim for the Wiregrass if we do not change from a lazy, high caloric lifestyle to a more active, lower calorie one.

The rate of obesity related diseases in the Wiregrass is extremely high. Weight loss would help reverse these trends. No regime of appetite suppressants works without diet and exercise. In fact, studies show the only effective way to weight loss is diet and exercise or bariatric surgery. The time is nigh for reversing sedentary lifestyles and eating appropriately.

Simple changes can get you started: eliminate fried foods, fast foods, and sugary drinks from your diet; 30 minutes about four days a week can help trim the waist line. These changes in your home must be household-wide. If only one
person changes, the temptation is great for that person to revert. So, get the whole family involved in order to have a greater chance at achieving successful weight loss.

*Before starting any diet and exercise regime, please consult your primary physician to see if you are healthy enough to start a program.

-Justin Hovey, M.D.
Board Certified Internal Medicine and Pediatrics

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