Life and Fitness in Louisiana Threatened as Obesity Rates Double

Life and Fitness in Louisiana Threatened as Obesity Rates Double

An Associated Press report says that the number of people in Louisiana suffering from obesity has since 1999. State officials are deeply concerned for the life fitness of many children who fail to get more than 20 minutes of challenging physical activity in a day.

From a recorded 17.7 obesity rate in 1999, the percentage of obese people in the state has increased by 34 percent. Two thirds of residents, including teens and young children who comprise half of the population, are suffering from weight problems, according to Bruce Greenstein, secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals.

In a news conference Greenstein said that the high number of children falling into the obese category in the statistic is the most alarming and saddening thing about the report. The conference where he spoke tackled the 2000 life fitness report card given which was provided by the Pennington Biomedical Research.

Greenstein’s department is now working on a website that encourages families to engage themselves in fitness activities. Residents should start making fitness goals and challenge each other into better shape.

A similar life fitness project involving young children is being conducted by both the Louisiana State University and the Southern Agricultural Centers. Other programs offered by several organizations are zeroing in on overweight and obese adults.

Greenstein stresses the resident’s individual responsibility to take charge of their health and life fitness.

The departments of education, children and family services are working with the health department to establish various health programs, according to spokeswoman Lisa Faust. Faust’s believes that parents are the key to their children’s physical fitness, apart from the crucial role the schools play. Efforts are likewise extended to schools to should push more information and activities that encourage physical and life fitness.

Statistics show that less than a quarter of high school students in Louisiana engage at least an hour of aerobic physical exercise. About 45 percent get strength training activities such as sit-ups, weight-lifting, and push-ups. About one third of the children from 6 to 17 get more than 20 minutes of challenging physical activity in a day. Only 39 percent of 10 to 18 year-old children can pass an aerobic fitness test.

Reports cards in the past three years have given Louisiana’s children a D in physical fitness.

The chairman of the report card advisory committee, Peter Katzmarzyk said that the committee has foregone to assign a grade this year and instead will focus on improving health and life fitness goals by 2020. Pennington is also associate executive director for population science.

A federal initiative called Healthy People 2020 which pushes for 10 percent improvement in categories is the model for the committee’s fitness goals, but Katzmarzyk said they are going to set the bar higher.

The report suggest that physical activity should be increased while time spend in front of television and computers should be reduced by 40 percent to slash the obesity and overweight cases and improve aerobic fitness by 20 percent. Life fitness goals such as these are what Louisiana need at the moment to improve the wellbeing of its residents.

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