WV WORST IN NATION IN HEALTH CATEGORIES - Residents Love Sugar Drinks And Snacks


West Virginia leads the nation's with the worst health statistics in 10 of 12 categories in a new 2011 Gallup Healthways ranking.

State residents lead the nation in obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, heart attack, cancer, neck or back condition, leg or knee condition and "other recurring pain."

More than one in three West Virginians (35.3 percent) are now obese, according to Gallup Healthways.

"If West Virginia lowered its obesity rate, it would most likely lower its ranking in other categories," Healthways official Reggie Ramsey said, since obesity is at the root of most high chronic disease numbers.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said, "Almost all these problems are preventable."

"It's time for West Virginians to stand up together and say, 'We've had enough, and we can't stand to have such bad outcomes any longer," he said.

Drinking cola and drinks with sugar and junk food are big offenders.

The WV Department of Education says they hope to improve school meals and add physical activity to the children's day.

One in four fifth-graders are obese and one in four already have high blood pressure.

Only Kentucky leads West Virginia in smoking of the 50 states.

West Virginia's 2011 statistics, according to Gallup Healthways, include: obesity, 35.3 percent; high blood pressure, 38.9 percent; high cholesterol, 33.5 percent; diabetes, 15.7 percent; depression, 23.9 percent; heart attack, 7.6 percent; cancer, 8.8 percent; neck or back condition, 38.9 percent; leg or knee condition, 33.9 percent; other recurring pain, 23.9 percent.

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