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Report pegs Ohio 13th fattest state in 2011

If Americans continue their lifestyles, more than four out of every 10 people will be overweight by 2030.
A new “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2012,” report by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), revealed that by 2030, 44 percent of the population in all 50 states will be overweight, hitting an obesity record for the nation.
In 2011, Ohio was tied with Kansas as the 13th most obese state in the country, with a rate of 29.6 percent, according to TFAH. This ranking, researchers say, is expected to rise within the next 20 years to 59.8 percent.
In comparison, Mississippi was named the most obese state in 2011, with an obesity rate of 34.9 percent. Colorado had the lowest obesity rate, with 20.7 percent of its population being obese.
More than any other recorded time, adult Americans are defined as obese, with a body mass index of 30 or more, according to the World Health Organization definition.
According to the study, rising obesity rates mean higher health care costs due to more diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes or heart diseases. Reducing Ohioans’ body mass index by 5 percent within the next year would slow climbing health care costs, expected to increase by 15.2 percent by 2030, TFAH reports.
Those numbers are caused by a lot of factors, said Janele Bayless, a wellness coordinator and nutrition counselor at Ohio State’s Student Wellness Center. A large factor is a sedentary lifestyle, with the lack of physical activity, or time constraints that don’t allow enough time to cook healthy food.
“I have noticed that people don’t often, or always tend to listen to their hunger cues. So they eat for many reasons other than hunger. Whether it’s just the time of day, or their busy schedule or lifestyle, or bored, or stressed, or studying,” Bayless said.
Finding the right rhythm and the right nutrition during college is a challenge every student has to face when leaving their parents’ house.
“A lot of people aren’t used to preparing food for themselves when they are growing up, and when they go to college, all of (a) sudden, they are on their own,” said Ian Osborne, a fourth-year in economics.
Although Osborne tries to eat healthy, he said unhealthier food is sometimes cheaper and more convenient during late-night studies.
Jackie Goodway is an associate professor in the School of Physical Activity and Educational Services. She said that childhood years influence the lifestyle people adopt as adults.
“Typically, by the age of about 10 or 11, a child has already figured out whether they are going to be active as an adult or not,” Goodway said. “So we know that childhood physical activity levels track into adulthood.”
Bayless suggests people listen to their body signals and respond according to hunger cues.
“There is no rule that says people have to eat until they are full,” Bayless said. “Find small alternative activities that you can do when you are not really hungry, and maybe think about why you are eating. For example if you are bored, are there other activities that might fulfill that boredom?”
The Wellness Center has free nutrition counseling, helping students to either lose weight or create a healthier meal plan on a cheap budget.
Some students said it’s important to find time to be active.
“We are organisms so we are supposed to be executing our muscles and stuff, all the time, and exercising, and people don’t do that. In their daily lives they work a lot or do other things, and sometimes they are just not motivated to go do things like exercising,” said Jeremiah Lawson, a first-year in engineering.
Lawson said he thinks OSU does a great job with its variety of food at the dining halls, but  also said that education, especially from parents, is an important aspect of living a healthy lifestyle.
“Act the way you teach. Because if you teach one thing and you act a different way, your kids are going to grow up teaching one thing, and acting a different way,” Lawson said.
Obesity rates in the U.S. will depend on the health of America’s young adults, such as OSU’s students. That was one of the reasons Bayless decided to work with students.
“If they can figure out how to do it well now, they’re hopefully going (to) be better off throughout their life, so they can learn how to make healthy eating choices now.”

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