MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The global cost of obesity is staggering and continues to rise. You may think that refers to just healthcare costs, but it's much more than that.
"People that are the most obese actually have a difficult time getting a job, getting promotions," says CCU Health and Nutrition Professor Sharon Thompson. "There's more cost for production in producing larger-sized clothes, there's more money for gas. And how much it costs for fuel, because Americans are 24 pounds more now than they were back in 1960."
Now this isn't to shame you from the Thanksgiving meal you've been waiting all year for.
"Of course, Thanksgiving is all about the Thanksgiving meal," Thompson said. Her message isn't to stay away from potatoes, gravy, turkey and stuffing this Thanksgiving. But the rest of the year, take this into account: "Rates of obesity have doubled in the United States in the past 35 years."
Thompson says it's become a part of American culture to over eat, eat poorly and not take care of our bodies. "Our children age 10 to 17 in South Carolina rank number 2 in the nation for being obese, so that's quite alarming," she said.
Thompson says those children sometimes grow out of obesity. But more often than not, they grow up to be the largest adults. There are changes, she says, that need to be made, from what you buy at the grocery store to what the stores make available to you.
There's no one solution.
"Fresh local produce, the schools taking a look at what they offer in the schools in vending machines," Thompson continues. "Workplaces allowing people to take breaks, and encourage them to go on walks, employee wellness programs; communities that are definitely more interested now in making their areas more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. Those are all environmental changes that will, just barriers that will be removed to make it easier for us to be healthy."
Thompson says consumers drive the marketplace, so if you push for healthier choices it could change what's made available for you at fast food places and restaurants.
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