NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s Healthy World report, “The Obesity Epidemic: Unhealthy Habits Result in a Growing Problem for Americans”, which discusses both the patient and provider views on the fastest-growing health problem in America. Download it HERE!
As a region, the Northeast is known for tourism, travel, and, of course, New England clam chowder. An area that both coined the phrase “in the deep woods” and is full of beautiful scenery along the coastline, the Northeast also introduced the country to New York style thin-crust pizza and street-cart hot dogs. It is also a region where residents have been in control of their health. Research shows that Northeasterners smoke less, exercise more, and weigh less than people living in other parts of the country. But as the obesity epidemic is stretching across the country, it is also beginning to hit the Northeast at an alarming rate.
According to The Obesity Epidemic: Unhealthy Habits Result in a Growing Problem for Americans, the Northeast region is tied for first with the West, with about half (49 percent) of each region’s population currently describing their weight as obese or overweight. In addition, 50 percent of Northeasterners report they could currently do a better job of managing their weight, and 79 percent of Northeasterners said they could benefit from losing weight right now.
Northeasterners Know the Cause
The good thing is that region’s residents know the cause of this growing problem, which is no surprise given the area’s reputation for healthy choices. As is true with the rest of the nation, the vast majority of the Northeast (91 percent) believes that diet and exercise, not genetics, are the biggest causes of obesity, according to The Obesity Epidemic. And nearly half of Northeasterners, 44 percent, report that not getting enough exercise or physical activity has negatively impacted their health. The Northeast has historically prided itself in the amount of exercise its residents have gotten, with walking trails and outdoor activities smothering the region. It is time to get back to where they once were.
The lack of activity, along with a mentality that is more accepting of obesity, is leading to a growing problem in the Northeast. As reported by The Obesity Epidemic, more than two-thirds (64 percent) of those in the Northeast think that obesity is currently a significant problem in the U.S., and a fifth of Americans (20 percent) say that they have experienced obesity in their life. The Northeast region does lead the nation in successful dieting, as 41 percent of the Northeast (as much as five percent higher than the other regions) reported being completely successful with a diet. Add in more exercise and the region can easily get back on the right path.
High-Tech Communication Can Help
It is important for doctors and healthcare providers to initiate conversations encouraging their patients to implement a healthy diet plan and exercise routine as part of weight management. Using high-tech communication, including taking advantage of mobile devices and social media, can help doctors better reach their patients. Currently, according to The Obesity Epidemic, the Northeast sits in the middle of the pack in terms of discussing their health with their doctors. Almost two-thirds of Northeastern residents (62 percent) said they would be interested in and/or happy to receive communications from their doctor with tips to help manage their weight. Additionally, a fourth of people in the Northeast, 24 percent, report they would be interested in hearing from their doctor between office visits, via emails, text messages, or voicemails in order to help them manage their overall health. But they need to start talking, as currently just 40 percent of the Northeast has taken the initial step of discussing weight management with their doctor.
The Northeast knows what it takes to be healthy. The people in the region have the tools necessary to change their lifestyle and get back to being the healthiest region in the nation. It is time for residents of this region to take the steps— eating healthy, regular exercise, and talking with healthcare providers—to combat obesity and live healthier lives.