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Kentucky Battling Obesity

August 3, 2009

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Two new national reports show Kentucky is tipping the scales as one of the most obese states in the nation. Kentucky weighs in with 31 other states where more than one in four adults are obese. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the federal Centers for Disease Control, obesity rates among adults rose in 23 states over the past year.

Susan Zepeda, executive director of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, says the findings, which label childhood obesity as the number one public health problem in the nation, should be a call to action.

"What was more alarming to me was not just that we are ranked 7th among adults, but that we were ranked 4th among children. That shows a disturbing trend that is going to cause a great deal of trouble in the future."

Zepeda says Kentucky's obesity epidemic is fueled by inactive lifestyles and a diet rich in calorie-dense processed foods.

Although steps have been taken to attack the state's waistline problem, she adds, for children there are a number of new programs that should be implemented.

"One is making sure that we track BMI, which is body mass index or the weight of kids compared to their height. Another is non-invasive diabetes testing."

A bill requiring nutrition information on menus failed to become law in the Kentucky General Assembly this year. Health advocates say they will try again next year to enact similiar legislation.

Bill Goodman, Public News Service - KY