Central Va. Counties Concerned About Obesity

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

April 1, 2013

Albemarle County was recently ranked 4th most healthy county in the state of Virginia. But Albemarle and surrounding counties have obesity on the list of their biggest concerns for this year.

Lauren Morris has many family members who are battling obesity.

"My mom came back from the doctor's a few weeks ago and they told her she has to watch her weight because of her high blood pressure," the junior at Monticello High School said. "It's awakening that cause it's actually serious."

Morris says she's learned from obesity's negative impact on her family and it's made her more aware of her health and how she wants to live her life.

What you eat, you really need to watch. You don't have to exercise with harsh workouts everyday but you can just walk around the neighborhood or instead of sitting down and watching TV play the Wii," she said.

Barbara Yeager has been researching obesity since 1996 withe Charlottesville-Albemarle Board of Health. Since then, studies of third and fifth graders have shown the numbers aren't drastically going up or down. They've hovered around 18% for kids who are obese, and the same for kids at-risk of obesity.

But Yeager says kids' situations can be dealt with.

"They're much more fixable. It's not a destiny - they're not going to be obese people, necessarily, especially if they put in healthy habits, healthy moving, healthy physical activity, they can turn that around," Yeager, of the Community Action on Obesity Taskforce.

Morris hopes the younger generation can change their habits and lifestyle before they have kids. She knows herself that eating fried food or fast food for dinner can affect her siblings.

"You don't know what it can do until the person isn't there anymore," Morris said.

It's a national epidemic which Yeager says has too many aspects to it that there's not one answer to make it all go away.

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Board of Health is launching a campaign in the fall to get the whole community moving more than ever to help spark healthier habits in adults and kids alike.

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