When we decided to write a series of articles on obesity in Chenango County, I expected to find statistics showing that the rate or obese and overweight people in the county was on the rise. I didnít expect to see numbers that showed more than 60 percent of residents in Chenango and Madison County fell into those categories.
Personally, I am all too aware of the weight issues. For most of my life, Iíve worked to keep my weight at an acceptable level, with varying degrees of success. Sometimes it seems easy. You eat right, exercise more, and you lose weight. Other times, trying to find the time and the energy to cook healthy meals and work out on top of managing work and children seems absolutely impossible. Being healthy takes a lot more energy and effort than being unhealthy.†
For that reason, I understand why some people might be overweight, but I was still shocked when I saw statistics that showed how many residents in Chenango and Madison County were overweight or obese. According to figures from the Chenango County Health Assessment, from January of 2005, more than 21,000 Chenango County residents are above their normal weight, and 62 percent of residents in Chenango and Madison County who are overweight are obese.
Nationwide statistics show that over the past 10 years, the rate of obesity is increasing across the nation, and despite the seemingly high rates locally, New York is actually faring better than many other states, like Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.
No one wants to point the finger and place the blame on any one factor or source, but I think the entire nation is going to need a big change if we want to see any improvement. Fast food industries are already trying to offer a healthier menu, and trans. fats are being used less and less, but the problem is going to continue until we can change the mindset of a lot of people and get most of the society to change their lifestyle.
The obesity epidemic is real and dangerous. Experts are now saying that this generation of children will actually have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, and the primary cause is obesity and all of the diseases and health risks that relate to it.
As a parent, thatís the most terrifying bit of information I could hear. I donít know how any parent could hear that and not want to change the way they live and the influence they have on their child to make sure that statement doesnít become a reality. Itís not an insurmountable task. Itís making simple everyday decisions to eat fruits and vegetables instead of chips and candy, or playing outside after dinner instead of watching television. In the long run, itís the little choices that make the biggest difference.