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Obesity rates rising around the world

It looks like the whole world is getting bigger, at least around the waistline.

The World Health Organization’s obesity center reports an estimated 1.46 billion overweight people worldwide, with 502 million considered obese. Obesity is even sweeping into low- and middle-income countries, which means unhealthy weight gain is now a problem alongside malnutrition. 

The report comes just before a United Nations meeting this month, where world leaders plan a response to rising rates of heart disease, diabetes and other conditions closely related to obesity.

How do we rank?

Obesity is an epidemic in the U.S., where more than 50 percent of the adult population could be obese by 2030 if current trends continue, according to researchers from Columbia and Harvard universities. If that happens, it would mean 7.8 million extra cases of diabetes and 6.8 million additional cases of coronary heart disease by 2030.

Right now, one in every three adult women is obese in the U.S. In comparison, about one in every 20 adult women is obese in Japan, one in four in Jordan, one in three in Mexico and up to seven to 10 in Tonga.

What can we do?

Western Baptist Hospital is doing its part by initiating and supporting several programs in the region aimed at educating, informing and alleviating the national epidemic of childhood obesity. Our goal is to make children — and their parents and caregivers — “heart smart.”

Western Baptist just launched the fitness program, Project Fit America, at Concord Elementary School earlier this month. Concord is the fourth area school to win the $16,000 grant from Western Baptist for indoor and outdoor fitness equipment, teacher training and physical education curriculum support materials to schools. Paducah’s McNabb Elementary and Graves County’s Central Elementary were awarded the program in 2007, while Lone Oak Elementary received it in 2009.

The outdoor equipment behind the school will be free and open, so the community may use it to get in shape. The fitness program provides the perfect vehicle for exercise and nutrition education for children and their families.

Chest Pain & Stroke Hotline

If you have questions about heart attack or stroke symptoms, you can talk to a Western Baptist nurse free 24 hours a day on the Chest Pain & Stroke Hotline: 1-800-575-1911.

Western Baptist Hospital of Paducah is a regional medical and referral center, serving about 200,000 patients a year from four states. With more than 1,700 employees and 240 physicians, it offers a full range of services, including cardiac and cancer care, diagnostic imaging, women’s and children’s services, surgery, emergency treatment, rehabilitation and more. It is part of Baptist Healthcare System, one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare systems in Kentucky. For information, see westernbaptist.com.

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