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WV Obesity Stats

By: Jillian Risberg Email
By: Jillian Risberg Email

West Virginia holds the top spot and it's not a place they want to be. That is, leading the nation with an obesity rate of 33.5.

I found out what's driving these numbers and how folks around the valley feel about that distinction.

"(I’m) quite concerned and actually somewhat embarrassed,” says Andrew Padden of Vienna, who was working out at the Parkersburg YMCA. “I've spent time outside of West Virginia in both Ohio and North Carolina -- similar problem, not quite as bad, so coming back to the home state has been quite disconcerting."

While adults in West Virginia remain obese, kids are getting thinner.

"Once again, West Virginia got some bad news, that we are the fattest state in the nation, which is really unfortunate,” says Dr. Dick Wittberg, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department. “I think there is a silver lining though, in that we are no longer the worst when it comes to overweight children."

There are many obese children in childcare.

"We try to feed 'em right in childcare, keep 'em healthy through the school systems and give 'em a lot of exercise -- and it seems to help,” says Sonya Metz, a childcare worker at the Y.

Committing to a lifestyle change is difficult, but worth it in the long run.

"It’s not just a physical and mental challenge for people to come in here and do it, but it's a challenge for me to get people in here to do it and to continue doing it because it's not easy,” says personal trainer Jennings Roberts.

Awareness has increased that if you are active and eat better you're going to be healthier.

"That’s something that kids have maybe a little more ability to change lifestyles than adults do,” Wittberg says.

For these parents, it's all about keeping moving.

"I have two kids, they're nine and 10 and I keep them in many sports,” Metz says. “It keeps them really healthy and active. They're in basketball, cheerleading and baseball, and also football."

"We’re conscientious of that,” Padden says. “We make strong efforts to keep our diets in check and exercise everyday or try to, at least five days a week.”

His kids, 11-year-old Emma and 15-year-old Preston are on the Parkersburg Sharks swim team at the Y and Preston used to swim for Parkersburg High School.

It’s all about making a personal commitment to get healthier. That’s going make a difference in your life and in those just released statistics.


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