From staff reports
MILLEDGEVILLE — Dr. Jim Lidstone, director of Georgia College’s Center for Health and Social Issues, presented data on the grim reality of Baldwin County’s and the nation’s health as part of the Eggs & Issues series sponsored Tuesday by Bodyplex.
The obesity epidemic is largely tied to economics and socioeconomic factors, he said, a tremendous issue that will only worsen without immediate action.
“Obesity is so tied to economics,” said Lidstone. “Anything we can do to bring good quality jobs to our community is going to help all around.”
Lidstone also relayed the latest goals and efforts targeted by Live Healthy Baldwin and its supporters for combating the obesity issue.
Live Healthy Baldwin, a five-year, grand-supported effort funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is in its fourth year of existence. The program aims to address the obesity issue by creating greater access to healthy foods and more avenues for increased physical activity.
Baldwin County was one of just 50 communities nationwide selected for the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities grant, which supports Live Healthy Baldwin.
The overall goal is to make the healthy choice the easy choice for all residents, said Lidstone. The impact of not making changes extends beyond personal health to the well-being of the community at-large, he said.
Baldwin County’s 31 percent obesity rate for adults places it higher than the state. Sixty-two percent of boys ages 9 to 11 and 51 percent of girls in the same age range are classified as overweight in Baldwin County.
Twenty-one percent of the county’s adult population is uninsured, compared to 11 percent nationally.
While there is no quick and easy fix to Baldwin County’s obesity epidemic, promise remains but more action is required, according to Lidstone.
“It’s going to take us a long time to get out of it,” he said.