Report Ranks Michigan 5th Fattest State in America

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

Michigan is tipping the scales to a dangerous level. According to a report released Tuesday, 60 percent of the state could be obese by 2030.

The Trust for America Health report, backed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ranks Michigan as the fifth fattest state in the nation.

Right now, more than 31 percent of Michigan adults are obese, 12 percent of high school students and the numbers are climbing.

"We've made it very easy to live a very unhealthy lifestyle, we're surrounded by unhealthy choices and options," Angela Minicuci, with the Michigan Department of Community Health said.

"I could definitely see it coming, it doesn't surprise me," Carrie Crandall, a nutritionist with Sparrow Health System said. "More and more we're actually seeing it in the younger population." She says it's not uncommon for a 25-year-old to visit her office weighing more than 300 pounds. Years ago, that was unheard of. Crandall says part of the problem is our activity level, another may be the weather.

"One of the things that we struggle with here in Michigan is the fact that we have four seasons," Minicuci said. "We have people that especially in the winter they may not be as included to go out and take a run."

Then there's convenience meals, our propensity to grab fast food and soft drinks, heavy on the calories, short on whole grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables.

"Not only is it concerning that we are so heavy, but obesity leads to very serious chronic illnesses such as type II diabetes, heart disease, some kinds of cancer," Minicuci added.

Those chronic conditions can be costly. If Michigan's obesity rate remains unchanged, the report predicts health care expenses to rise 19 percent by 2030. It predicts 1.4 million new cases of type II diabetes, 2.9 million new cases of coronary heart disease and stroke, 2.6 million new cases of high blood pressure, 1.7 million new cases of arthritis and nearly 400,000 of obesity related cancer in Michigan.

"There are some very, very serious economic costs associated with obesity," Minicuci said. But she says we can turn things around.

"Absolutely it's fixable, we're all in control and have choices everyday," Crandall echoed.

Health professionals say a good place to start is meal planning, looking ahead at your week and laying out some easy options. They recommend keeping the focus on vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Also, keep a healthy snack on hand. They say something as simple as an apple can stave off hunger and prevent you from grabbing a candy bar or bag of chips at work.


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