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Obesity is a national epidemic

Posted: June 29, 2014 - 12:02am

Dear editor,

As a nurse here in Columbia County, working on a BSN degree, I have been working on a community health project regarding prevention of adult obesity.

What I have discovered through my research has been shocking to me. Here are a few facts:

* The adult obesity rate in Columbia County is reported to be 26.7 percent, whereas the rate of adult obesity in Georgia is 27.8 percent and 34.9 percent in the USA.

* Statistics recorded between the years 1988-1994 compared with the same statistics collected between 2009-2010 indicate that the obesity rate for adults older than 19 years increased 57 percent from 22.8 percent to 35.7 percent.

* Nationally healthcare costs alone are now estimated to be $190 billion annually in additional spending due to obesity.

* Obesity accounts for increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer as well as lost productivity in the workplace, increased insurance costs, and increased costs in facilities and transportation as accommodations for larger people are made.

As I have spoken to many people in the community, including physicians, dietitians and weight loss specialists about the problem and what can be done to help turn or at least slow the trend down, I do not feel that the underlying problem of food addiction is being considered.

No one I contacted mentioned referring obese clients to Overeaters Anonymous group meetings.

I feel that this would be a valuable resource for these people as Alcoholic Anonymous groups have been known to help a tremendous number of alcoholics over the years.

I believe its time to see the problem of overeating for what it is in many cases, an addiction, and the medical community and others need to be proactive in finding all available, long term help for these people.

Ann Banks,

Martinez

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