Obesity rates in Clark higher than state, nation

Published 9:59 am Friday, January 4, 2019

Obesity rates in Clark County are far above the state and national average, according to a new report.

Jessica Touzet, marketing director for DietSpotlight, said as of 2017, the overall obesity rate for the state of Kentucky was approximately 34 percent.

That positions Kentucky as the eighth heaviest state in the U.S.

Between 1990 and 2017, obesity rates in Kentucky climbed from around 12 percent to 34 percent.

“State policies are in place for early childhood, schools and communities to prevent obesity,” Touzet said in an email. “Unfortunately, Kentucky is one of the few states that has failed to adopt the majority of preventive policies.”

Touzet said some policies not adopted in Kentucky include regulations to encourage breastfeeding, state-defined physical activity and automatic updates to the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Kentucky has also yet to adopt regulations requiring early childhood education programs with foods that meet dietary guidelines, regulations requiring private breastfeeding spaces in ECE programs and regulations requiring students to participate in physical education classes, PT time requirements, recess or safe routes to school for walking or bike-riding students, from elementary through high school.

“Lack of regulations designed to fight the obesity epidemic expand into the community,” Touzet said. “Kentucky has not adopted a complete streets policy or pre-emptive community policies related to nutrition.”

According to data collected by DietSpotlight, in Clark County, men average a BMI of 35.1 and women average a BMI of 36.2. The typical weight of men is 254 pounds with women weighing 215 pounds.

The average amount to lose in Clark is 85 pounds. That is 34 percent higher than the state average of 63 pounds and 44 percent higher than the national average of 59 pounds.

In Clark County, the average age of obese men is 47.

The average age of obese women in Clark County is 44.

According to the World Health Organization, as of 2014, the U.S. average BMI ranked 17th out of more than 200 countries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention backs up this data reporting nearly 40 percent of the population — about 93 million people — in the U.S. were obese as of 2015-16.

Touzet said the data provided for Clark County is based specifically on people interested in weight-loss supplements, fat burners, meal replacement shakes and other products/services designed for people trying to lose weight.

The total sample size for the study included more than 300,000 people across hundreds of counties in the U.S.

“Our data was gathered from customers that visit our site,” Touzet said. “Customers fill out a form with qualification questions that we then tie it to their ZIP code. We have information for more 1,000 counties with hundreds of submissions from customers in each ZIP code.”

DietSpotlight is a private company that reviews weight-loss programs, specific diets products and equipment. Its website also features articles related to nutrition and weight loss. It also sells various products. Touzet said nutritional and medical professionals review data collected by and information published on DietSpotlight.com.

Touzet said DietSpotlight plans to use the results to write various articles for its website. The company also collects additional data on contributing factors for each county, state and the U.S. as a whole.

Touzet said she hopes the data can inspire people to be healthy.

“Sometimes, taking a look at information of this magnitude may convince county residents to take a step toward healthier lifestyle choices,” Touzet said.

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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