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Obesity in Oklahoma

When it comes to obesity, the state of Oklahoma ranks fourth nationwide. A startling distinction that is leading the state's Department of Health to take action.
Obesity in Oklahoma

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Overweight and Obesity in Oklahoma and the US report

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Show 1026: Obesity in Oklahoma

Air date: June 27, 2010



Rob:  Well as a state, we’re fat and getting fatter.

Oklahoma now ranks in the top tier of all states in the girth of our waistlines.

It’s an issue that goes well beyond vanity, impacting not just our physical well-being, but our states’ economic bottom-line.

Today, we try to get our arms around Oklahoma obesity.  Alisa Hines starts us off.

Alisa Hines:  Valerie McBane is stepping on the scales a lot more these days.

She is part of a wellness group trying to lose weight.

Valerie McBane:  Having three children pretty much back to back, because they are nine, seven, and six, there was a lot of being pregnant for a while.  So, you gain a lot of weight sometimes when you’re pregnant and so I plan to lose all, if not, you know, part, if not all of that.

Alisa:  A working mother of three, McBane is like many Oklahomans hoping to shed a few pounds.

Valerie:  Just finding time to fit in a healthy meal in between a busy schedule with three kids and a husband and trying to do everything as you can, there’s not enough hours in the day really.

Alisa:  Valerie’s story isn’t unique; a growing number of Oklahomans are fighting the battle of the bulge.  Recent statistics show 30% of the state’s population is obese.  Landon Norton is a Nutrition Coordinator for the state health department.

Landon Norton:  On the nutrition side I really, I really like that traditional southern diet, so that’s kind of been engrained in us, that’s how our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents cook.

Alisa:  Experts point to the usual suspects of expanding waistlines, poor food choices and lack of exercise; reasons that make the disease not just a health issue, but a question of lifestyle.

Valerie:  So, trying to eat enough fruit, drink a lot of water, that’s, that’s the hard part.

Alisa:  Blame it on our modern day society where the lure of convenient food is everywhere and time, limited.

Landon:  More and more people are grabbing something on the way home from a fast food restaurant establishment to feed their families as opposed to cooking.

Alisa:  In just 20 years, obesity has risen by more than 20% in Oklahoma; a trend that doesn’t look likely to change by itself.  So, state officials have come up with a plan to help the state scale down.

Landon:  There really needs to be a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency effort at this because it does involve how our society, and our culture here in Oklahoma, functions.

Alisa:  With so many Americans waging a war on weight there may be comfort in numbers, but it’s comfort that Valerie, for one, is working to lose.