The Garden City Telegram
1/9/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Weigh in

More Kansans should vow to help reverse trend.

The arrival of a new year brings a time of resolutions for many.

And each year, one of the more common pledges comes in people planning to drop excess pounds.

It's enough to generate an annual surge in activity at fitness centers and gyms, along with steering more people away from fatty, sugary foods.

If only more folks who decided to embark on such a sensible and potentially rewarding venture could stick to the plan.

Sadly, people who choose to ignore their weight gain may be headed toward obesity and related health problems such as diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, cancer and hypertension. A combination of poor nutrition and physical inactivity now is considered the No. 2 preventable cause of death nationwide, only behind tobacco use.

A Kansas Summit on Obesity, organized last year by Gov. Sam Brownback and the Governor's Council on Fitness, put a needed spotlight on the disturbing trend in the Sunflower State: Obesity among Kansas adults increased from 15 percent in 1995 to 30.1 percent in 2010.

In other words, the rate in Kansas doubled in the last 15 years. That's a frightening statistic.

Among summit goals were building on current programs in place to curb obesity, and boosting collaboration between community and health-care providers. The governor also has pitched weight-loss competitions as a healthy way to drop pounds.

While such strategies make sense, it's also time for more individuals to take responsibility for their own health. Support is available for those determined to do so.

The healthy benefits of a good diet and exercise apply to anyone who's overweight, regardless of age. When adults set off to find the proper balance of diet and exercise, it also sets a fine example at a time obesity presents a growing threat to children and teens.

With obesity eating up state and national wealth — and cutting short many lives — there's plenty to gain from resisting the urge to abandon a personal wellness plan.

Kudos to those working so hard in the battle against the bulge, as well as those who continue to push efforts to keep them on track.