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Krupp: Combating Obesity

03/09/11 5:55PM By Ron Krupp
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(HOST)  The current debate about obesity has caught the attention of commentator Ron Krupp. And he's been inspired to make a few changes in his own lifestyle.   

(KRUPP)  The obesity rate has doubled in the Green Mountains since 1990. Currently, fifty seven percent of Vermonters are either overweight or obese. This brings with it a hefty medical price tag.
 
The Vermont Attorney General is pushing for a pro-active approach to combating obesity called the Healthy Weight Initiative. It recommends ideas the state could explore to encourage healthy lifestyles and offers ways to raise revenue, such as a soda tax, to defray the cost of obesity. Three other ideas are to create incentives for those on food assistance programs to purchase more fruits and vegetables - and to provide a revolving loan fund for small grocers to purchase refrigeration units to help them achieve a more healthy food mix. I believe the last idea - to cut out processed foods like chips and soda under the food assistance program - will be the most controversial.      
 
Dr. Harry Chen, the state's Health Commissioner says we live in a cultural environment that encourages people to eat unhealthy foods, whether it be in schools, retail stores, the workplace, or in our homes.
 
I've decided to lose a few pounds, not by going on a diet - which never works anyway - but by changing the way I live, one day at a time. I already walk every day; and I'll play racquetball, swim and cross-country ski, garden and eat fewer carbs - which will help to lower my blood sugar and cholesterol. You see, I have Type 2 diabetes, and it's a proven fact that when you lose weight your blood sugar goes down, as well as your cholesterol. It doesn't take a nutritionist to know that it helps to eat less fat and heavily-processed carbs like snack foods filled with sugar and salt. One soft drink contains eight teaspoons of sugar. A new Australian report says just that. But why do we need another study to tell us what we already know? I guess we need to hear it again and again.
 
Here are some other wake-up facts. Three-quarters of people in this country are overweight, and one third are obese. A little more than 11 percent of us have diabetes, and more than 30 percent have pre-diabetes, which if not treated will result in Type 2 diabetes.  It's estimated that one third of the population will develop diabetes by 2050.
 
Diabetes is directly connected to heart disease and cancer. The costs to our health care system are astronomical. We spend on average 8 thousand dollars per person on health care. Two-thirds of these dollars go to treat chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
 
The key is to change our lifestyles by exercising three hours a week, eating whole grains and more fruits and vegetables every day, eating out less and preparing healthy food from scratch at home. You might even save some money in the process and feel better.
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