Obesity rate rises across Southeast

  • Follow Health

Both Georgia and South Carolina continue to get fatter, according to an annual report, and South Carolina remains among the highest for not only obesity but diabetes and hypertension.

Although no state decreased in obesity rates, only 16 increased, compared to 28 the year before, according to the report.

Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the study F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011 on Thursday with a look back at rates 15 and 20 years ago.

In 1995, Georgia was 34th in obesity with a rate of 13.8 percent, but has since had the sixth-highest increase among states, shooting up nearly 15 percentage points, to 28.7 percent, according to the report.

Georgia remains at 17th-heaviest,. South Carolina was tied for eighth in 1995 with an obesity rate of 16.6 percent and since then has had the 10th-highest increase of 14.3 percentage points to 30.9 percent obesity. It still ranks eighth in obesity, a slight increase from ninth in last year's report. South Carolina is among a dozen states with an adult obesity rate of over 30 percent.

Not surprisingly, South Carolina is also eighth-highest in diabetes rate, at 10.4 percent, and ninth-highest in hypertension, at 31.5 percent, looking at an average of rates between 2008 and 2010.

Georgia, however, has seen some of the highest rates of increase in those diseases, with the fifth-highest increase in diabetes since 1995, from 4.2 percent to 9.7 percent, and the seventh-highest increase in hypertension, from 20.5 percent to 29.5 percent, according to the report.

While fewer states are getting worse, many in the South continue to struggle, and part of that is probably higher poverty rates, which lead to higher rates of obesity, said Dr. James Marks, senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"We have subsidized certain foods like corn that become the source for high fructose corn syrup and so the foods that have the high sugar associated with corn syrup are now the cheapest," he said. "So if you are on a limited budget, you will often go towards those foods, which are cheap and less healthy for you.

Part of the problem is that cities have been built up to be less walkable or amenable to exercise and too many people, particularly lower-income people, live in neighborhoods where there is no grocery store or access to healthier fresh foods, said Jeff Levi, the executive director of Trust for America's Health.

"All of the willpower in the world isn't going to overcome that problem," he said.

South Carolina had the seventh-lowest level of fruit and vegetable consumption, looking at 5 or more servings a day, with less than 20 percent reaching that level, according to the report.

The state has taken some measures recently, such as passing a law this year that lets state employees pay lower premiums or pursue other financial incentives if they participate in employee insurance programs to promote health and disease prevention, including obesity.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley had vetoed the legislation but the Legislature overrode it. All of these measures are probably too recent to have made a dent in rates yet, said Dan Bornstein, the project coordinator for the National Physical Activity Plan headquartered at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health.

"The curve-bending takes a long time to see," he said. "So even though there may be some state-level actions that have been taken it's too early to judge the effectiveness of them."

And as with that plan, which provides evidence-based recommendations for increasing opportunities for physical activity, it will take everyone working together to address it, Bornstein said.

"We've all really got skin in the game," he said. "It is costing us all a lot of money to not come at it from a preventive perspective."

Morris News Service Reporter Sarita Chourey contributed to this report.

Comments (48) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
180 IQ means Im smarter than you
0
Points
180 IQ means Im smarter than you 07/07/11 - 02:20 pm
0
0
Well if folks would lay off

Well if folks would lay off the fried foods, cut back on the salt and give up the fast food the weight would melt off. But NOOOOOO this is the south and we're proud of our lard butts!

ECDanes
1
Points
ECDanes 07/07/11 - 02:41 pm
0
0
This is no suprise.. look at

This is no suprise.. look at the glut of fast food and buffet restaurants around here. And I constantly hear people raving about restaurants like Cheddar's because of how much food they give you. When I see someone with a normal body weight walking around in Augusta I am almost shocked because it is such a rarity. Working in the medical profession it is alarming to see the number of people with type 2 diabetes in this area.

ECDanes
1
Points
ECDanes 07/07/11 - 02:44 pm
0
0
you'd think the mayor would

you'd think the mayor would initiate a "Get Fit Augusta" campaign, especially considering how he competes in events like Ironman and is an avid runner, but I have yet to see him initiate anything at the city level to address this problem. That is something, even with his limited powers, that he could do. This costs the city millions each year in healthcare costs and lost productivity.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 07/07/11 - 03:03 pm
0
0
I read the national story,

I read the national story, Colorado is the only state with an obesity level below 20% - theirs is 19.8%. 16 states have an obestity level higher than 30%.

I attribute a lot of this to the economy. Stress will make you gain weight.

It would be interesting to see obesity studies that focus on race, income level, education level & other factors. I say this over and over and over....... If you cannot properly identify the problem (due to political correctness), then you will never solve the problem. We've got to stop tip toeing around issues or we're gonna sink like the titanic.

Of course we could always listen to michelle obama, "do as I say, not as I do", for nutritional advice.

180 IQ means Im smarter than you
0
Points
180 IQ means Im smarter than you 07/07/11 - 03:08 pm
0
0
I totally agree with you

I totally agree with you chillen.

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 07/07/11 - 03:12 pm
0
0
This will only get worse as

This will only get worse as food prices escalate. Traditionally, the fats , starches and sweets are at the low end of the pricing.

Emotional_Rationale
0
Points
Emotional_Rationale 07/07/11 - 03:33 pm
0
0
Most definitely the economy

Most definitely the economy plays a role, but personal choice and preference is a major factor. It doesn't matter black, white, yellow, if people don't make good choices then the rates will continue to rise. It's all about educating the masses on what happens to body when you take in all of this processed food and you don't exercise and you don't get sufficient rest, etc.

Here's one to think about: A family of four, both parents work 14 hour days, kids are in school and usually go to some after-care program. By the time the entire family is home, it's close to 9PM. No food has been cooked in the house, no food is in the refrigerator because they haven't had the time to go grocery shopping because of the extended hours at work. They eat out every night, they pick up snack cakes, cupcakes and other treats high in sugar and fat in order to compensate.

That's just a little grow on. This type of thing occurs in many homes across the nation. Parents don't have the time or energy to make a meal, to even go grocery shopping. On the flip side, you have people in the same situation, however they choose to make late night runs to Wal-Mart to stock up on "healthier" food options. They spend the night making the meal for the next day, so that when they get home at least it's a nutritious meal that the family is eating. Like I said, personal choice. If people want to eat and live healthier, they can make that choice, but people don't because it's not convenient for them to do so.

Emotional_Rationale
0
Points
Emotional_Rationale 07/07/11 - 03:33 pm
0
0
And it doesn't help that most

And it doesn't help that most fast food places have $1 menus....

ll2
0
Points
ll2 07/07/11 - 03:39 pm
0
0
First, the survey uses

First, the survey uses statistics and phone surveys, it doesn’t actually go out and measure anyone. Second, this group is biased towards providing a healthier lifestyle, anything they can do to prove they are needed improves the likelihood they get donations and grants.

So I take the survey with a grain of salt. It’s probably accurate to state that folks are gaining wait. That is common in many societies where economics improve and people have access to richer foods.

Studies have also shown that being mildly overweight isn’t bad for you, as long as your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are maintained, either via medication or naturally.

The ‘real’ reason behind the report is far more sinister. It calls for the states and federal government to get even more involved in our daily lives. Like telling states how much physical education they need. Or what kinds of foods they are allowed to sell.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 07/07/11 - 04:08 pm
0
0
180...I'm definately proud of

180...I'm definately proud of my 'lard' butt. :)
People in the South just don't eat right. And giverment subsidies are definately generous for families that get them. I stood in IDA behind a woman with a cart load full of nothing but junk food and sodas, all paid for with food stamps.

floridasun
310
Points
floridasun 07/07/11 - 04:24 pm
0
0
I have lived all over this

I have lived all over this country..south, north and west and I have never seen a fatter population than I have in Augusta.
People in Augusta seem to equate the amount of food you get on your plate to the quality of the restaurant. I agree with the previous poster regarding places like Cheddars where people comment "Oh I love Cheddars because you get so much to eat there"
Gee,I for one don't want to see my tax dollars going to provide medical care for people who have obesity related diseases such as diabetes.
Try exercising Augusta..you might like it

augusta citizen
9685
Points
augusta citizen 07/07/11 - 04:30 pm
0
0
Not to bash Cheddar's, but I

Not to bash Cheddar's, but I agree. My husband and I went there for lunch one time. The amount of food was absurd. We could and should have split a meal, we would have still had plenty to take home.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 07/07/11 - 04:36 pm
0
0
I also get ticked off when I

I also get ticked off when I see fat people riding around in those complimentary scooters at places like Wal-mart, and I really don't understand why those stores provide them in the first place. The thing is the truly disabled generally have their own wheelchairs and scooters anyway so they don't need to use the ones provided by these stores. Almost everytime I see someone who is simply fat cruising around in them, stuffing their basket with oreos, ice cream, sugary sodas, pork rinds, and cheese puffs. How about walking around and you may burn of some of those calories you are consuming!

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/07/11 - 04:41 pm
0
0
emery-emery.....mad with

emery-emery.....mad with people on scooters...come now....next thing we know you will be hating chubby babies!!....:)

People with heart conditions-bad lungs can't exercise ya know---some kin like that....No exercise=fat....

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/07/11 - 04:46 pm
0
0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IQSbJUj7u8

I want to dedicate this song to emerydan....lol.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 07/07/11 - 04:51 pm
0
0
Emery has a point....though

Emery has a point....though for some it is very hard and sometimes tiring to get around.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 07/07/11 - 04:55 pm
0
0
Like I said, I have no

Like I said, I have no problem with people who are disabled or who have medical conditions that prevent them from walking around or standing up for long durations using these scooters.. But I know for a fact that people with those conditions qualify for their own scooter and medicare will pay for it. I mean what do these people use to get around when they are not at one of these stores? It never fails, everytime I am at Wal-mart super center and see someone using these scooters they are simply fat

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/07/11 - 04:56 pm
0
0
If you ever have

If you ever have foot-hip-knee surgery you will be glad to use the scooters....evidently some on here haven't reached the age of joint-surgery.....hahah.......live long enough & you will see.

I feel really good.... the guy at the grocery store asked me if I qualified for the senior discount...haha....He will be a friend now!!

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/07/11 - 05:00 pm
0
0
The problem emery is that you

The problem emery is that you can't always see the disability...canyou see heart problems-lung problems-----My hubby had a goodfriend w/heart trouble & every time he used a handicapped spot he got looks...he was a medium size guy & looked healthy. He died last year from heart problems.

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/07/11 - 05:02 pm
0
0
It's a good thing corgi

It's a good thing corgi didn't see this....

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 07/07/11 - 05:04 pm
0
0
Emery...I agree. I was just

Emery...I agree. I was just saying that most people who are very obese do have problems getting around, especially somewhere spacious like Walmart. I have seen some that aren't obese enough to be dependant on the scooter though....

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 07/07/11 - 05:06 pm
0
0
I realise that and a doctor

I realise that and a doctor will prescribe a patient with these medical conditions with a mobility device.. and if a doctor believes such a device is necessary medicare or other insurance will almost always pay for it.

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/07/11 - 05:06 pm
0
0
I agree they shouldn't get

I agree they shouldn't get free scooters..
Have you seen the stupid commercials selling scooters & they say call us & we will get you a free scooter...free nothing---tax payer scooter is what it is & they costs thousands more than necessary....A RIPOFF!

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/07/11 - 05:09 pm
0
0
What I'm trying to tell you

What I'm trying to tell you younguns....some don't need a scooter all the time----only after surgery....why buy a scooter or get a free one when you need it maybe a few months....

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 07/07/11 - 05:10 pm
0
0
well Patty for the morbidly

well Patty for the morbidly obese, that's often considered a disability and they can qualify to receive mobility devices (now there is some debate on whether that should occur).. as for myself if someone is so morbidly obese that they cannot physically walk then I don't have a problem with someone receiving a scooter, but I would hope it would be in conjunction with other medical treatments to get their weight under control so they they won't need it forever. What I see constantly are people who are basically overweight and obese (but not morbidly obese to the point they cannot walk on their own) using these scooters. Again the people who need them can get them.

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/07/11 - 05:11 pm
0
0
Doctors will not ok scooters

Doctors will not ok scooters for a joint surgery ....not necessary for long periods of time & he will say walk when you can & don't depend on help after a few months........been there-donethat!

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/07/11 - 05:14 pm
0
0
I would rather my tax $$$ go

I would rather my tax $$$ go for lap-band surgery than a scooter----but that's just me.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 07/07/11 - 05:18 pm
0
0
seenit, a doctor can

seenit, a doctor can prescribe a mobility device for a a short duration and insurance will cover it.. happens all the time. My point is the ones who truly need these things can and do get them..they don't need the ones in the wal-mart. I mean I hate to say it but most of the ones who use those free scooters in walmarts and other stores are just lazy

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/07/11 - 05:23 pm
0
0
Well ok emery....the next

Well ok emery....the next time you see a person using a scooter & you think they don't qualify.....just go up to them & tell them to get off & walk......but please let me know what happens afterwards ok?
I might get brave & try it myself oneday.:)

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs