Obesity rates rise in KY, IN, but experts say simple changes can improve your health

Obesity rates rise in KY, IN, but simple changes can improve your health

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Obesity is an epidemic. It’s a problem around the U.S. and here in Kentuckiana.

The CDC reports 93 million Americans are considered obese. That’s close to 40 percent of the country.

New findings from the State of Obesity list Indiana as the 12th most obese state in the country. Kentucky ranks even worse at number 8.

Health experts say that often stems from years of poor diet and lack of exercise, but there are things you can do to improve your health.

Inside Louisville Athletic Club on Taylorsville Road in Jeffersontown, people of all shapes and sizes come to fit in a workout.

“I try to get in here as much as I can in between all the work that I do,” said Reggie Shafer, a retired police officer and Louisville resident. Shafer said he tries to get to LAC for a workout three to four times a week.

The people inside LAC are working toward a healthier lifestyle.

The CDC reports findings that one in three Americans eats fast food every day.

Aerial George is a nursing student in Louisville that will graduate in two months. She said she avoids eating fast food but ends up grabbing it once a week for the convenience of it. From what she sees, George said that number isn’t surprising.

“I saw at McDonalds the other day, you literally go up to the screen, you order and you walk away and you don’t have to deal with anyone at all. So it seems like it’s easier,” George said.

Recent data shows obesity rates are rising in Kentucky and Indiana. In both states, one in three people is obese. https://stateofobesity.org/states/

That includes people trying to improve their lifestyle through diet and exercise.

“I would say a good 95 percent of my clients are obese. But most of them don’t work out because they’re afraid they’re going to be judged,” said Shane Valentine, a personal trainer at LAC.

Finding a workout routine is important, Valentine said, but so is diet.

“About 80 percent of that is diet. So it’s great to be active, but if you’re not making lifestyle changes about what you eat, you’re still going to end up on the heavy end of the spectrum,” said Stephanie VonTrapp, general manager at Louisville Athletic Club.

“There are just so many risk factors that come with eating unhealthy and not being aware of what you’re consuming,” George said.

Indiana has the ninth highest rate of childhood obesity in kids ages 10 to 17.

Janet Steffens, health education expert with the Floyd County Purdue Extension office said that’s partly due to a more sedentary lifestyle. But part of it comes unhealthy diets at home. So change should happen as a family, at home, at the gym and at restaurants.

Whether you commit to limiting your fast food or just getting to the gym, Steffens said it’s important to find a healthy routine and stick to it.

“You have to stay consistent. There’s no secret to it,” Shafer said.

“Somebody who will come three times a week will usually hit their goals,” VonTrapp said.

Make fruits and vegetables a part of each meal instead of trying fad diets.
Make fruits and vegetables a part of each meal instead of trying fad diets. (WAVE 3 News)

Make fruits and vegetables a part of each meal instead of trying fad diets.

“So if you think of it as a lifestyle change, that’s more motivation to eat clean, come to the gym as often as possible and be that example for your family and friends,” Valentine said.

And when it comes to working out, the best option is often the easiest.

“Whatever you will stick to,” VonTrapp said.

Those small steps can make a big change to your health.

People looking to try out a new fitness routine can get a free week at LAC. For a free month, customers who sign up today, Thursday October 4 can use the promo code “myhealth” online.

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