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Southern comfort food not helping Kentucky waistlines

Editorial, The State Journal


 The American South is quickly becoming known for its expanding waistlines nearly as much as its comfort cuisine. Unfortunately, a balanced diet doesn’t equate to a Kentucky Fried Chicken leg in each hand and the proof is not just in the banana pudding with those little Nilla wafers but also on the number on the bathroom scale.

 Statistically, it’s not shocking that nearly 40% of U.S. adults are obese considering many rely on the convenience and availability of fast food, lack access to healthy food options and are inactive. In fact, 35% or more of adults in nine states (Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, West Virginia and Kentucky) are considered obese.

 The Bluegrass State has the eighth highest adult (36.6%) and the third highest youth (20.8%) obesity rates in the nation. And, according to a WalletHub ranking of the top 100 fattest cities released on Wednesday, Kentucky’s two largest metro areas — Louisville-Jefferson County and Lexington-Fayette County, which sandwich Frankfort — are rated 18th and 23rd , respectively. Louisville dropped a notch and Lexington went up a spot over last year’s rankings.

 The ratings compared the 100 most populated metro areas in three categories — obesity and overweight (Louisville 11th, Lexington 12th); health consequences (Louisville 16th, Lexington 36th); and food and fitness (Louisville 36th, Lexington 22nd).

 Obesity affects overall health and can lead to preventable chronic diseases. Carrying extra weight also shrinks the wallet. Those who are overweight spend 42% more on health care, as costs for obesity-related medical treatment have inflated to roughly $190.2 billion per year.

 It comes down to making healthy choices. Like sipping bourbon and betting on the horses — two of Kentucky’s favorite pastimes — indulging in high-calorie comfort food is best done in moderation. So instead of saddling up to a second heaping helping of mashed taters and gravy, dust off your sneakers and take an after-dinner walk around the neighborhood.

 To quote T Harv Eker, an author and motivational speaker, “One step in the right direction is better than a hundred years of thinking about it.”

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