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Health Team

Policy advocate: Obesity epidemic 'weighing' down NC economy

Posted May 23, 2012

With more than 90 million Americans battling obesity, it's quickly become health enemy number one. 

Obesity raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, and impacts the cost of health care for everyone. According to health policy advocates, North Carolina is in an especially bad position because of an increasing number of overweight citizens. 

Meg Malloy, president of the North Carolina Prevention Partners, says the obesity epidemic is a drag on the state's economy. Recent studies show that 66 percent of adults in the state are overweight, making North Carolina the fifth most obese state in the country.

NC needs to change habits to beat obesity NC needs to change habits to beat obesity

"Both the public employer and private employer has to redirect funds from what their core business work is to take care of unhealthy people," Malloy said. 

In an effort to reverse the trend, N.C. Prevention Partners, a nonprofit that aims to reduce preventable illness caused by tobacco use, poor nutrition and physical activity, is pushing for more public health funding. 

Malloy says her nonprofit wants healthier food options and more physical education in schools and more incentives for weight loss and exercise in the work place. 

Registered dietitian Ashley Honeycutt said changing the lifestyle of people dealing with obesity is the first step in improving the state's health rating. 

"There are a million diets out there, but they're a diet," Honeycutt said. "It's something that's temporary."

Honeycutt said changing behavior and tracking portions are two simple ways to jump start weigth loss. 

That approach helped Cindy Capps lose 50 pounds in the last nine months.

"I have to look at food in an entirely different way in order for this to be a long-term goal," Capps said. "I want to maintain a good healthy weight for the rest of my life."

33 Comments

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  • davidgnews May 24, 4:43 p.m.

    "Policy advocate: Obesity epidemic 'weighing' down NC economy"

    I'd be willing to bet it's weighing down GOLO as well.

    I'm blessed with a fast metabolism, but sometimes it's a curse because it's hard to gain weight when I want to do so.

    At least I try to manage weight, which is more than I can say for obese people that I do know.

  • warbirdlover May 24, 4:34 p.m.

    Beaulah. Do you have a Ph.d in genetics? Yes it has been Provence that some people, no matter how much they do can't lose weight. And yes people are born homosexual. Do a little research and you will find I'm right. The transformation from agrarian to technology also has to do with obesity. Do you really think fat people enjoy being fat and being the brunt of Jokes and discrimination? Have you ever known someone who can eat junk food 24/7 and never gain weight? That's genetics working. Also our gene poole has expanded. Changing our DNA. Look at Native Intuit peoples of Alaska. Almost everyone in overweight, and this comes from living in a very cold climate and it works great as insulation against the cold. We are people with feeling too.

  • beaulahjackson4 May 24, 1:36 p.m.

    "So all of you are experts. I have been fat my entire life. Some people are genetically coded to be fat. The same goes for people who are extremely skinny."warbirdlover
    Hmmmmmm......so you are saying not your choice? Hmmmmm.....wonder if that could apply to perhaps something elses so contraversial recently? As is being genetically coded or predisposition-ed as to their sexuality...you know not their choice? True people have different metabolisms, I rarely see adults call others out about them being overweight, but I have lots of skinny friends and people tell them to eat something all the time, but rarely do I hear folks ask obese people to stop eating so much and exercise more. I don't recall as many obese Americans when we had less preservatives in our food, hot house grown produce and hormones in our meats. I think some obesity is convenience, and lack of exercise and some of it can be attributed to our current FDA approved food sources.

  • unc70 May 24, 1:19 p.m.

    A healthy diet for me could be unhealthy, even fatal for you. Peanuts, onions, bananas, cows milk, soy, ... Our genes, the bacteria in our gut, our food, its preparation, the minerals in the soil, climate, latitude - are very different around the world. Everything has changed. Couples have less similar genes, their children combining traits in ways rarely possible before.

    We've long known that heredity, diet, exercise, certain diseases affect our weight. Eating too much can make most people fat. But something changed in the 80's. Our diets and AD-36. AD-36 interferes with regulation of fat cells, metabolism. Infected lab animals gain 60% more weight eating the same amount of food. The virus jumped from birds to humans, probably in 1970's India. It spreads by human contact, probably insect assisted. Like pink eye and gnats. Obesity by county over time spread here from southern ports, southerners and blacks mostly at first. Part 2 follows

  • loveapex May 24, 11:25 a.m.

    yorky1966 - I agree to an extent. We are talking about different factors causing the people to be out of work. Let me make my viewpoint clear - less government is better government. That being said, I don't think people will lose their jobs over this, but I do think that the government will make overweight and obese people into pariahs just as they did smokers. They will tax foods, put special warnings on them and pressure restaurants to comply with ridiculous regulations. They will say that fat people don't know how to eat properly and someone needs to teach them and they can't possibly teach their kids how to eat! For the purposes of full disclosure...almost 46 y.o never been overweight, exercised all my life, have to watch what I eat closely, never eat fast food, yes, I do smoke and quit all the time (its easy)....its staying quit thats hard :) My health is superb. Thank goodness for good genes and psychotic health habits.

  • yorky1966 May 24, 10:58 a.m.

    Can you imagine the burden on our system with millions of people out of work that are actually able and willing to work?" yorky1966

    Ummmm, yes, aren't we already dealing with that?

    loveapex

    Yes, but those are economic factors not health issues that have no forseeable resolution. Those costs would be far greater than what we are seeing now. Which I guess is the gist of the article.

  • loveapex May 24, 10:26 a.m.

    "NOT ALL FAT PEOPLE ARE LAZY DIRTY SMELLY PEOPLE."

    No one called YOU anything and I dont think that we were using name calling at all. We are speaking about generalities and there will always be an exception to the rules. Yeah - you are the exception. Geesh!

  • loveapex May 24, 10:24 a.m.

    "Can you imagine the burden on our system with millions of people out of work that are actually able and willing to work?" yorky1966

    Ummmm, yes, aren't we already dealing with that?

  • loveapex May 24, 10:22 a.m.

    They show a correlation. Not saying it shouldn't be explored, but it also causes pink eye and is found in average weight people. That is not a "cause".

  • warbirdlover May 24, 10:21 a.m.

    So all of you are experts. I have been fat my entire life. Some people are genetically coded to be fat. The same goes for people who are extremely skinny. I use less medical resources than the average normal size people. I get a yearly physical, my blood pressure is 128/74, my blood sugar has never been over 88 and my cholesterol is 155. Both sides of my family are large people. So get off your high horses. Weight has more dymamics than just eating less food. By the way I worked 35 years as a heavy equipment mechanic. NOT ALL FAT PEOPLE ARE LAZY DIRTY SMELLY PEOPLE.

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