Louisianians pay high price for obesity rates

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Obesity is not a new problem for Louisianians and it's a condition we all know can lead to a host of related problems like diabetes and heart disease.

If that isn't bad enough, those extra problems mean extra health care costs. It can take a huge toll on a person's health and quality of life.

"Certainly, you're going to be more predisposed to medical conditions like type two diabetes, heart disease," said Melissa Martin, the nutrition coordinator for Woman's Center for Wellness Fitness Club. "You may also, start to lend those trends to your family and your children. So, our younger generations are starting to suffer from that soon than they should be."

Trust for America's Health, a non profit working to promote health, cites a 2011 medical journal study that estimates medical costs from obesity total nearly $150 billion a year.  Most of the costs came from treating obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes.

"You may have more medications that you normally would, so you may spend more at your pharmacy. Your insurance premiums may be a little bit higher based on where you fall on the BMI scale, which is your body mass index. You may spend more money on co-pays with increased doctor's visits as well," said Martin.

Fortunately, all those health care costs can be eliminated with healthy living. However, experts say getting healthy is far from easy.

Martin said the biggest challenge is making the first step, which can be anything from getting more exercise, to just eating more fruits and vegetables.

"We rely on our habits to keep thing running smoothly. So, changing some of the covenant options we make throughout the day in regards of our food, it's not easy," she explained.

Instead of focusing on the challenges of getting healthy, Martin suggests people think of change as investing in their future and in their health which is worth more than any dollar amount.

Click here for more information on obesity and healthy tips.

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