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Oklahoma ranks highest in adult obesity, OC works to tackle statistic

According to NewsOK, a newfound epidemic is running rampant throughout the state of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma has the eighth-highest adult obesity rate in the United States, with one in three Oklahomans suffering from obesity, according to a report published from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Obesity, as defined by Medical News Today, is a condition in which body fat percentage creates serious health issues. If a person’s bodyweight is at least 20 percent higher than average standards, he or she is considered obese. Oklahoma’s adult obesity rate is currently 33.9 percent higher than in 2000.

Darci Thompson runs the fitness program for Oklahoma Christian and said she encourages students and faculty to stay active. Thompson said the obesity rate is not only concerning, but saddening.

“I wish it was easier to reach people and figure out what the true issues are,” Thompson said. “I think the main problem is our food and what people are eating, considering healthy food is not cheap. A lot of people just have to buy what they can to provide for their family and for the most part those options are not healthy.”

Thompson said to get on the right health track people need to seek accountability and find someone to help motivate them.

“Trying to avoid obesity or conquer losing weight alone is nearly impossible, you need that extra push from family or friends that will keep you in line,” Thompson said. “Although people cannot just come at it from an exercise perspective, they must consider that eating and sleep habits really come into play with your health.”

Thompson said people must make life changes and get into the habit of wanting to be active and eating healthy. She also said surrounding oneself with motivated and healthy people with similar goals will help reach personal success.

Oklahoma Christian Professor of Music Heath Jones said by making an intentional effort to cultivate a healthy lifestyle he lost a significant amount of weight.

“One day I was at White Water with my children and we were about to ride this ride and there was a sign that said, ‘250 pounds and over cannot ride the rides,’” Jones said. “At this time I was about 250 pounds and my kids knew that I would not be able to ride with them. This was a huge eye-opener to me and made me realize that I needed to change my eating habits and start working out.”

Jones said his first step to losing weight was joining TeamOC and preparing to run a 5K.

“Starting this process definitely is not easy but once the results started to show and people started to notice it is truly worth it,” Jones said. “I love the attention I got for losing a noticeable amount of weight and it motivated me even more. The fact that Oklahoma is so high in obesity makes me want to inspire those around me to start making healthy decisions so our state can become healthier.”

Jones said he lost around 90 pounds over time and despite gaining some weight back, he stays motivated to continue working hard so the results will show and he stays healthy to live a long, full life.

Sophomore Hannah McMillon said seeing loved ones struggle with obesity creates motivation to make healthy decisions.

McMillon lost 25 pounds her sophomore year of high school because she realized some of her relatives were obese and she said she didn’t want to go down the same road.

“I really started to notice that some of my relatives were overweight in high school,” McMillon said. “The more I was around them, the more I realized how much it affected their lifestyles. When I was in high school I realized that I weighed more than I would like to, so I knew I had to make a change before it got too out of hand.”

McMillon said she first started losing weight by learning to to cut her calories and avoided foods containing sugars, and implementing daily workouts.

“I have kept the weight off that I have lost and it makes me feel very good knowing that I can be motivated when I really try to,” McMillon said. “Now I continue to eat healthy and stay active so I will stay on track with my diet and health. I would advise anyone to start a healthy lifestyle to avoid future weight gain or obesity.”

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