A whopping 34.9 percent – or 78.6 million – of American adults are obese, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. The statistics for children are not very encouraging either, with 17 percent of those between 2 and 19 years old reported to be obese. That’s 12.7 million kids.
While obesity is a trend that needs to be reversed, old habits die hard — and it takes a lot more than studies, awareness campaigns and enthusiasm to achieve a healthy weight. It’s hard to break away from tradition when it makes everything more delicious (think fried food in the South).
Overall, towns with the unhealthiest habits are in the South. Three of the cities are in Texas, another three in Florida and two in Tennessee. The factors contributing to the high obesity rates are intertwined – few public places for recreational activities, many fast food restaurants offering cheap food, a scarce number of farmer’s markets, high rates of smoking and chronic health problems.
The American College of Sports Medicine unveils its American Fitness Index (AFI) every year. While it shows attempts have been made to encourage folks to move more, progress has been slow. Last year, the number of people who said they had worked out over the last month was down to 11.3 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state government have also been keeping track, releasing data periodically.
Is your town on the list?