Obesity and inactivity in Wisconsin continue to rise

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Eau Claire, Wi. (WEAU)-- A new report from the United Health Foundation finds obesity and inactivity continue to plague American’s health. Nearly three out of every 10 Wisconsin adults are estimated to be obese, a figure that puts Wisconsin more or less in the middle of the pack of U.S. states.

Lieska Giese, health officer with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department says lack of exercise combined with poor eating behaviors, result in habits that are hard to break.

“The health department and the community are paying attention to the fact that obesity is getting worse and that's happening in Eau Claire and across the state. The same with physical activity, people are being less and less active, even though we're talking about it more and more,” says Giese.

In the latest report, Wisconsin was ranked 23, while bordering state Minnesota ranked much higher, at 6th.

“We've found that over time, in health rankings, Wisconsin ranks worse than Minnesota, and that has been historic. Why that is, is something that we continuously look at and it's related to a lot of things, obesity included. We know that people in Wisconsin are more likely to be obese and less physically active than people in Minnesota generally. That can be for a number of reasons, but mainly developing a culture and community that prioritizes being healthy is a big part of that,” says Giese.

Mayo Clinic Health System Dietician Diane Dressel, says the high amount of adult obesity is leading to childhood obesity.

“Children learn from adult habits and the obesity rates in children are escalating horribly fast. People need to take a totally different avenue when it comes to weight management. They have to make it a priority. Most people are being very passive about their weight problem; they don't even see themselves as overweight,” says Dressel.

“If we work together as a community, we can make some policy decisions and some program decisions that will make a difference,” says Giese.

As for other ranking states, Hawaii is the healthiest state at number one, while Mississippi was the most obese, coming in last.

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