Obesity rates on the rise in Eau Claire, statewide – WQOW TV News 18


Posted: March 11, 2020 at 9:45 am

Eau Claire (WQOW) - According to a recent statewide study, obesity rates across Wisconsin and in Eau Claire are on the rise.

That's despite recent city and state efforts to promote healthy eating and active living.

In 2014, the Wisconsin Partnership Program launched its $10 millon, five-year Obesity Prevention Initiative, so why are obesity rates still rising?

"It is cheap entertainment for families to put their children in front of the TV instead of getting them outside and getting active and having that daily physical activity," Janessa VandenBerge, a community health educator with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department, said.

According to the Wisconsin Health Atlas, Eau Claire obesity rates sit at 14% to 22% among children ages five to 17. And for adults, the numbers are even higher. Nearly half of Eau Claire adults are obese: In 2018, the average rates, categorized by zip code, range from 40% to 53%.

Despite local efforts to promote healthy habits, like the Eau Claire Healthy Communities Coalition, and various statewide efforts like Healthy Wisconsin, obesity rates aren't slowing down.

In 2011, nearly 28% of Wisconsin adults were obese. In 2018, 32% were.

Health officials said a lack of commitment can be a big factor.

"It becomes a lifestyle change," Dietitian Heather Krieger said. "You need to foresee yourself doing something forever and not just for a quick fix or that quick weight loss. Knowing that there are resources and you can utilize that is probably the first key."

According to the CDC, obesity can lead to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even some types of cancer.

"When you're going into your mid-30s, 40s, 50s, a lot of that extra pounds can actually cause things to happen and complications that further will just keep adding," Krieger said.

Krieger added that fad diets aren't the way to go, either, and that they can actually harm your health more in the long run.

Officials said being proactive is what will help our community reverse the upward trend of obesity.

"Healthy eating and being physically active are preventative medicine. We pay the farmer now or the doctor later," VandenBerge said.

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Obesity rates on the rise in Eau Claire, statewide - WQOW TV News 18

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