Nov 1, 2012 2:53 PM by Hoyt Harris

Obesity in Louisiana: A Deadly Problem

In eye-opening research...The Picard Center at UL studied more than 14-thousand students in six Louisiana parishes. The study found 20 percent were overweight---and a shocking 32 percent were obese.

The culprits? The study named three---poor eating habits, inadequate physical activity and too much time in front of the television and computer.

Overweight and obesity have now replaced cigarette smoking as the Number One cause of preventable death.

But Lafayette family practitioner Dr. Edward Lafleur says eating fat is not what leads to an overweight body.

"When they're trying to create a Sumo wrestler in Japan, they don't feed'em bacon and cracklins and pork chops and rib-eyes," Lafleur says. "They feed'em rice and bread and pasta."

Lafleur says "carbohydrate overload" is what leads to weight problems He points the finger to parents who depend on fast food for too many family meals.

"(Fast food) is bad because it's a tremendously rich source of carbohydrates laced with fat. And it's topped off with a sugary drink, a recipe for weight gain."

Studies show children between 2 and 18 get a full 27 percent of daily calories from snacking--potato chips, soda, powdered donuts, candy bars.

It's not just youngsters doing the snacking. A study in Health Affairs magazine reports: "We are at the point where EVERY age group is moving toward constant eating."

Two out of three adult Americans are at greater risk for getting - and dying from - cancer. Not because of air pollution. Not because of tobacco in their cigarettes or mutations in their genes.

No, this cancer risk -- shared by 150 million Americans -- comes from eating too many calories and getting too little exercise.

"There are lots of folks---grown-ups---who eat ice cream before bed every night," Lafleur says.

Apparently, it's a case of "monkey see, monkey do."

"Children are gonna model their behavior after the parents," he adds.

Lafleur says unless children are carefully shown from a young age that Mom and Dad eat THEIR vegetables, a youngster will make the nutrition choice on their own.

"Give a child the choice of cashews or a Pop-Tart," Lafleur says, "and most of 'em are going for the Pop-Tart."

So far this year, more than 250-thousand people nationwide have died from obesity.

But that doesn't count those who died from various diseases brought on by simply being overweight---heart disease, fatty liver disease, to name a few.


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