Obesity rate declining in Louisiana

Obesity rate declining in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The fat factor in Louisiana has been a problem for decades, but there has been a recent decline for the first time in 30 years.

.

Customers flock to Jynell Glaser's produce stand for bright, fresh vegetables.

is popular with families. Larender Smith brought her grandson.

"I think it is critical to get them started young because if you get them started young, you don't have to worry about them when they become teenagers. They're already eating vegetables," said Smith.

It is no coincidence this market is held on the campus of Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Obesity researcher Leanne Redman believes resources like these and initiatives like

make it easier to make healthier choices. Her research shows it all starts in the womb.

"We know pregnancy is very important, not only for the future health of the mom, but now we know pregnancy is very very important on laying down the metabolic fingerprint if you will of that child," said Redman.

In fact, she has been able to prove what a mother eats during pregnancy can have lasting effects on two generations.

"That's pretty powerful. To think that what our grandparents did in pregnancy, or what our grandmother did in pregnancy can actually be affecting us even today," she said.

Redman is encouraged by Louisiana's progress and says we all must stay engaged to continue the positive trend.

"I think Louisianians need to give themselves a pat on the back," said Redman. "I think that the conversation around obesity or a healthy lifestyle rather is becoming easier to have and people are having it around the dinner table, people are having it in schools, and people are having it in the community."

Smith is confident her grandson is on the right path.

"My kids, my son and my daughter, are both into watching their weight. They eat healthy so I don't have to worry about my grandchildren because I think they will pattern after their parents," she said.

She now knows they are patterning metabolically after herself, too.

Next Saturday, Pennington hosts their first-ever 5K and fun run.

and it is open to all ages.

If you don't want to participate in the races, there will be plenty of free, healthy activities set up on the Pennington campus.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.