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NC Metro Areas Make "Fattest Cities" List

The lack of healthy, convenient food choices in some parts of North Carolina may be partially to blame for the state's obesity problem. (dodgertonskillhause/morguefile)
The lack of healthy, convenient food choices in some parts of North Carolina may be partially to blame for the state's obesity problem. (dodgertonskillhause/morguefile)
March 29, 2016

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Almost 30 percent of adults in North Carolina are considered obese, and a report released by survey company WalletHub names four metro areas, Greensboro, Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Asheville, among its top 50 Fattest Cities in America.

The survey analyzed the percentage of people who are inactive, amounts of fruits and vegetables consumed and, of course, weight.

Registered dietitian Pam Kelle says while traditional southern foods may be partly to blame for the obesity rate of southern states, there are other socioeconomic factors.

"I think that habitual eating in the southern eating style is true, but if you tease it apart," she says. "I think you'll find a lot of those numbers fall into the poverty perspective, more than just a food preference perspective."

"parent">The Support Center of North Carolina says there are 349 "food deserts" in the state - areas in 80 counties that lack convenient access to healthy, affordable foods.

And the most recent State of Obesity report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says North Carolina has more than 540,000 heart-disease cases and 142,000 obesity-related cancers.

No matter where a person lives, 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."

Other diet changes to try include selecting lean meats, replacing fat-laden dips and sauces with choices like hummus, guacamole and yogurt, and increasing the number of "whole foods" consumed daily.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC