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Two Michigan Metros on "Fattest Cities" List

Experts say healthier choices begin with small steps, and that it's counterproductive to embarrass people who are dealing with weight problems. (Pixabay)
Experts say healthier choices begin with small steps, and that it's counterproductive to embarrass people who are dealing with weight problems. (Pixabay)
March 28, 2016

DETROIT, Mich. - About one in three Michiganders is classified as obese, and a report released by survey company WalletHub names two Michigan metro areas, Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, and Grand Rapids-Wyoming, in its 100 Fattest Cities in America list of 2016.

The unflattering analysis includes the percentage of inactivity, amounts of fruits and vegetables consumed and, of course, weight.

Registered dietitian and nutrition therapist Pam Kelle says while survey results like this may accurately indicate a societal challenge, they can be harmful to individuals who are actively battling a weight problem.

"How can we educate and teach people about healthy living and the risk of obesity without making people feel judged," she says. "And yet one other thing for people to be looked down upon by size?"

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-quarter of Michigan adults engage in no leisure-time physical activity.

But on a positive note, the state ranked 17th among 50 states and D.C. for obesity in 2014, a drop from fourth place in 1995.

Kelle says healthier choices start with small steps.

"Try to talk within the family unit about making small changes overall, and it might be meal by meal," she says. "It might be, 'Let's have dinner at home three times a week.' But I think looking at your own plate and your habits, and thinking about hunger and fullness, little bitty changes can make a big difference."

She says other diet changes could be selecting lean meats, replacing fat-laden dips and sauces with alternatives like hummus, guacamole and yogurt, and increasing the number of "whole foods" a person consumes daily.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI