Louisiana ranked 5th fattest state

Halen Doughty
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Louisiana is the fifth fattest state in the nation, according to a report from the personal finance website WalletHub. Analyst Jill Gonzales said the Bayou State did not fare well in any metric of the study.

"Louisiana has the highest percentage of obese adults in the country, at 36 percent. It also has the 5th highest percentage of obese children at 19.2 percent," Gonzales said.

In terms of health consequences, Gonzales said Louisiana has the fifth highest share of adults with high cholesterol at over 34 percent, as well as the third highest percentage of adults with hypertension at more than 37 percent. The health risks associated with obesity range from heart problems to diabetes. She said something needs to be done to address the growing obesity rate in Louisiana.

"It is important to implement policies that target prevention in order to reduce obesity, such as higher taxes on sugary drinks," said Gonzales. "It would also help to educate the population regarding the benefits of healthy eating, focusing especially on children and teenagers."

The report ranked Louisiana second for the percentage of adults who eat less than one serving of fruits and vegetables per day and fifth for the percentage of adults who are physically inactive. Not only is obesity impacting our health, Gonzales said it also hits our wallets. Being overweight and obese can lead to costly health problems down the road.

"It's also important to acknowledge the financial burden that comes with -- Americans spend nearly $200 billion in annual health care costs related to obesity," Gonzales said.

According to WalletHub, the estimated cost of diabetes in the U.S. was more than $407 billion in 2015. The average annual diabetes-related health expenses is nearly $8,000 annually. Furthermore, a diabetes patient's healthcare costs increase an average of 2.3 times.

None of our neighbors in the South performed well on the study either. Gonzales said most of the region ranked poorly across the board. Mississippi topped the list followed by West Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas.

Read the full report here: https://wallethub.com/edu/fattest-states/16585/

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