Louisiana has the fifth highest adult obesity rate in the nation, according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America released August 2017. Louisiana’s adult obesity rate is currently 35.5 percent, up from 22.6 percent in 2000 and from 12.3 percent in 1990. This state profile includes data on adult obesity, childhood obesity, and obesity-related health issues in Louisiana.
Among the reasons for the high number of obese adults in Louisiana may be poor access to healthy food. More than 17 percent of children in the state live in “food-insecure” households, the report said, meaning they have limited access to food and nutrition due to price and proximity.
Data shows 40.7% of adults between 45 to 64 years old in Louisiana constitute the largest population of obese residents. Adults 18 to 25 years of age have the lowest obesity rate, clocking in with an obesity rate of 29%.
The report also shows black populations are hit hardest by obesity, at 42.5%, while 31.9% of white populations are obese, followed by Latino populations at 29.9%. Women in Louisiana are more obese than men at an average of 36% versus 33.4%.
People who have obesity, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following:
- All-causes of death (mortality)
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
- Sleep apnea and breathing problems
- Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver
- Low quality of life
- Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
- Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning
Treatment depends on the cause and severity of your condition and whether you have complications. Treatments include lifestyle changes, such as heart-healthy eating and increased physical activity, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved weight-loss medicines. For some people, surgery may be a treatment option.
To help you aim for and maintain a healthy weight, your doctor may recommend that you adopt lifelong healthy lifestyle changes.
Heart-healthy eating. Learn about which foods and nutrients are part of a healthy eating pattern. It’s important to eat the right amount of calories to maintain a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, try to reduce your total daily calories gradually. Use the Body Weight Plannerexternal link to find out your daily calorie needs and to set goals. Visit healthy recipes and plan for success. Talk with your doctor before beginning any diet or eating plan. Visit Chose My Plateexternal link or 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americansexternal link for more information.
Physical activity. Many health benefits are associated with physical activity and getting the recommended amount of physical activity needed each week. Physical activity is an important factor in determining whether a person can maintain a healthy body weight, lose excess body weight, or maintain successful weight loss. Before starting any exercise program, ask your doctor about what level of physical activity is right for you. Visit Physical Activity Has Many Health Benefitsexternal link for more information.
Healthy Sleep. Studies have shown some relationship between lack of sleep and obesity.
Children and adults should be screened at least annually to see if they have a high or increasing body mass index BMI), which allows doctors to recommend healthy lifestyle changes to prevent overweight and obesity.
When healthy lifestyle changes are not enough, your doctor may treat your overweight and obesity with FDA-approved medicines. These medicines work in the following parts of your body.
Brain. Several medicines change the way the brain regulates the urge to eat, which can help to decrease appetite. Some examples of these medicines are diethylpropion, phendimetrazine, lorcaserin, naltrexone/bupropion, and liraglutide.
Gastrointestinal tract. Orlistat is the only available medicine. It blocks your intestines from absorbing fat from foods in your diet.
Weight loss medicines are not recommended as a single treatment for weight loss. These medicines can help you lose weight but when combined with lifestyle changes may result in greater weight loss. Some of these medicines should not be used if you have certain conditions or are taking certain medicines. Also, these medicines have side effects. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, breast feeding, or have a family history of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.
Some patients with obesity do not respond to healthy lifestyle changes and medicines. When these patients develop certain obesity-related complications, they may be eligible for the following surgeries.
Gastric bypass surgery. A small part of the stomach is connected to the middle part of the intestine, bypassing the first part of intestine. This decreases the amount of food that you can eat and the amount of fat your body can take in and store.
Gastrectomy. A big portion of the stomach is removed to decrease the amount of food that you can eat.
Gastric banding. A hollow band is placed around the upper part of the stomach creating a smaller stomach. This decreases the amount of food you can eat.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about the benefits and risks of each type of surgery. Possible complications include bleeding, infection, internal rupture of sutures, or even death.