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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Heavy issue

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  • Walk down the streets of Harvey County, and chances are, two out of every three people you pass will be overweight.
    Does that statistic sound a little too high? According to Lisa Bartel with the Harvey County Health Department, it isn't.
    Bartel previously told the Kansan the 2009 Kansas Behavioral Risk Surveillance System revealed 24.8 percent of adults in Harvey County are obese. If you add those that are overweight, the number jumps to 66.6 percent of adults. In Harvey County, 56.1 percent of adults also reported they do not participate in the recommended amount of physical activity, which is 30 minutes at least five times per week.
    The Healthy Harvey Coalition would like to do something about those statistics. The organization is sponsoring a special screening of “The Weight of the Nation,” an HBO documentary, at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 and 30 at Newton High School. The event is free.
    "The Weight of the Nation" is a four-part documentary series that features case studies and interviews with experts and with individuals and families struggling with obesity. The series spotlights the facts and myths of the growing public heath issue and shows how obesity affects the health of Americans and the health-care system.
    "We know that the overall health condition of the American people has gotten heavier over the past several decades," Todd Tangeman with Newton Medical Center said.
    Lynnette Redington, Harvey County Health Department director, encourages people to consider attending the documentary and to think about how obesity is impacting American culture.
    "One of our chronic diseases, if you can count it, is obesity," she said. "... A lot of chronic diseases do spur off of being unhealthy, and being obese. ... We want to nip these things in the bud, and help people have better living."
    Tangeman said he thinks the documentary does a good job chronicling how the obesity epidemic came about and describing the issues caused by that epidemic. He said the documentary may help people to take the first step to treating the epidemic: realizing there is a problem and then choosing to do something about it.
    "It's a great awareness tool," he said of the documentary.
    The first two parts of the documentary will be shown Jan. 29, and the conclusion will be shown on Jan. 30.
    For more information about the event, call 283-5667.
     
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