02/12 - Weighty Matters: Louisiana’s Obesity Problem

What factors in Louisiana’s lifestyle – and history - contribute to its weight problems?

Louisiana’s obesity rate has risen 14.5 percent over the last 15 years, making it the 5th most overweight state. For the percentage of obese children, Louisiana rises to 4th place, with nearly 21 percent of ten to seventeen-year olds facing this condition. What factors in Louisiana’s lifestyle – and history - contribute to its weight problems? How does obesity impact other Louisiana health conditions and costs? And where should the line be drawn between personal responsibility and legislative intervention? Watch “Weighty Matters: Louisiana’s Obesity Problem” Wednesday, February 22nd at 7 p.m. on LPB HD.


As far back as 2001, the U.S. Surgeon General described obesity as having “reached epidemic proportions.” Surgeon General David Satcher attributed 300,000 deaths a year to obesity and warned that if “left unabated…obesity may soon cause as much preventable disease and death as cigarette smoking.” By some estimates obesity passed tobacco use as the leading cause of death in 2010. This is largely because over the time frame from 1993 until 2008, the incidence of smoking decreased by 18.5%, while the proportion of Americans who were obese increased by 85 percent. In 2001, Mississippi became the first state with over 25% of adults classified as “obese.” By 2005, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia had obesity rates over 30 percent. In 2009 only 14 states had obesity rates below 25 percent.

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Our Panelists:

This program was also funded in part by the Louisiana Forestry Association

We want to know your opinion! Leave your comments in the box below.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as an audience participant!  The thing that I was left with and that was surprising to me was that many folk do not realize that one of the main reasons we are obese is because of lack of knowledge.  Some folk think we all should know what to eat.  NOT TRUE!!  The young people that I come in contact with are mostly from low income families and when they come over for lunch/dinner they make statements like the following, “No I don’t want to eat, y’all eat white people food.”  They do not know that vegetables such as broccoli, fruit such as blue berries and wheat bread are healthy foods and not white people food.  So, I am in agreement with the individuals that state EDUCATION will play a major part in fighting obesity.

Dr. Stewart Gordon states that the single largest factor in LA that contributes to the obesity problem is poverty; I beg to differ. The same folks spend their money on expensive clothes, iphones, flat screens and such.  I know because some of them are my relatives/friends. They are also able to afford the healthy foods because most of them are on food stamps; here again it is a personal choice.  What do you choose to do eat healthy or buy those expensive tennis shoes?  So, let us just attempt to educate the folks who want to do better, once they know better!

Posted by Mary Paulette Hamilton  on  02/17  at  08:41 AM

The food industry should share the blame. In a state of poverty who can afford to eat healthy? Order a salad and order a beefy crunch burrito. Which do you think is the more affordable for those who need to crunch pennies? Healthy food is marked up. A plate of leaves cost more than a plate of beef. Fatty foods should be marked up so as to discourage poor habits. Healthy items should be more affordable so that new habits can be formed and maintained.
Fortunately, I have developed a healthy workout regimen. Its habit now and I lost 70 pounds of fat by walking an hour every day. Not every day for a week or a month but every day for the rest of your life! Do that and you can eat whatever you want. Balance is a must.

Posted by Michael  on  02/22  at  12:12 PM

In all the years I have talked to patients & friends about food and weight , two factors always come up.  Number 1 I only eat what I like & if it affects my health some one can fix it.  Number 2 I don’t like to cook or I don’t have time to eat healthy. 

Education at all levels is needed.  Folks on food stamps should be better informed.  Cold drinks & junk food should not be paid for with food stamps.  People also should have to pay a consequence if they are unwilling to change their habits.  Anyone with insurance should be placed in categories according to their wellness profile. People have to be motivated to make better choices.  It is a total shame that schools are regulated to provide 2 to 3 meals daily to students who do not really eat the food.  Another example of government waste.

Posted by Lynn Tucker,M.D.  on  02/22  at  11:30 PM
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