Iowa projected to hit 54 percent obesity by 2030 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa projected to hit 54 percent obesity by 2030

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A new report by the Trust for America's Health predicts more than half of people in 39 states, including Iowa, will be not just overweight, but obese by the year 2030.  But of course there's a lot we all can do to help slow the trend.

Peg Torrin is in the fight of her life.  Two years ago, she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.  A pre-diabetes diagnosis followed soon after.  Now, she's on a mission to stay healthy, to help prolong her life

"As long as I eat healthy and exercise and things, I just feel better and have a little more energy to do those things that I can do," Torrin said.

Torrin's struggle to shed pounds will only become more common in others.  A new report suggests 54 percent of Iowans will be obese by 2030.  But with small changes, health experts say it's a path that can be avoided.

"All those little choices make a difference because even 200 extra calories a day can be 20 pounds in a year," said Mary Steffensmeier, Covenant registered dietitian.

In addition to eating better, exercise is a key component of improving health.

The challenge:  set small, realistic goals and don't expect to lose weight quickly that's piled on over a long time.

"They want to come work out for a week and get on the scale and see that they lost 10 pounds, and unfortunately, that's not how it happens.  I tell people don't weigh in for a month.  Maybe take some measurements at the beginning, find an exercise buddy, and just have fun with it," said Timi Brown, Covenant Med-Fit facilitator.

In the Cedar Valley, the "Blue Zones" committees hope to make headway into slowing the obesity epidemic, too.  Walking groups are set to launch next month.  Now it's a matter of getting people to take the next step and get involved.

"I think one of the biggest challenges is getting those families, those kids, young adults and adults, that maybe haven't included exercise in their routine, and say 'Come on!  Go do this!  This is good for us!  We can do this!'" Brown said.

It's Motivation to stop the obesity epidemic in its tracks.

Without major intervention, experts say if obesity rates do climb above 50 percent, medical costs for treating weight-related diseases will shoot up from $48 billion dollars to $66 billion per year.

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