Lynchburg, VA - According to a recent study, Virginia is on the fat track. Despite efforts to fight the obesity epidemic, a report released Tuesday says it's steadily on the rise in the Commonwealth. It predicts that by 2030 one in two adults in Virginia will be obese.
The Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the study. It predicts Virginia will see a 20% increase in adult obesity by 2030 if something doesn't change.
"I think that's sad. People should do something about it -that's what I'm trying to do," said Paul Brown, exercises at the Jamerson Y.
Brown, 71, isn't shy about his body.
"I'm already overweight," said Brown, laughing.
But don't mistake his sense of humor for a lack of concern. He recently had total hip replacement surgery. Now, he is determined to shave off the 50 pounds he gained after years of sedentary living.
"When I come over here, it loosens those muscles up. And what little bit of pain I did have from my muscles being weakened goes away," said Brown.
Brown is on the track to better health, but for many others that's not the case. According to the recent study, if obesity continues to rise in Virginia, it could contribute to more than 1 million cases of type 2 diabetes and more than 2 million cases of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Corey Jeffcoat with the Jamerson YMCA believes we can reduce those numbers by starting with the adults of the future.
The Y's goal is to strengthen communities.
"Kids are begging their parents to come to the Y and use the equipment and play in the kidz gym," said Jeffcoat, the branch director.
The Jamerson Y has adapted exercise to the technology-based world to get kids moving.
"They're moving, they're jumping, pedaling and they don't realize they're exercising," said Jeffcoat.
The goal: Teach kids healthy habits and reteach adults so this study won't come true here at home.
"The culture of the South plays a big role in it, so we've got to kind of unite as a community to change our values," said Kuhland.
The study predicts in 2030 that Mississippi will have the highest obesity rate. Colorado is expected to have the lowest.
Learn more about the study and get results for each state on Trust for America's Health's website.