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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments

For Release: _____, 2003
Contact: __________
_____ County Health Department

National Public Health Week Focuses on Health Threats Caused by Obesity

There is an emerging public health threat that few people have noticed and that the public health community is starting to sound the alarm about during National Public Health Week, April 7-13. According to health officials, approximately 56 percent of all Oklahoma adults are overweight and an additional 21.9 percent of Oklahoma adults are obese. The proportion of children who are overweight has tripled since 1980. The economic cost of obesity in Oklahoma in year 2000 reached $1.2 billion.

“About 5,000 Oklahomans die of premature deaths associated with obesity each year. Obesity is not limited to any particular age, race, ethnic group or gender,” said __________ County Health Department Administrative Director __________. “People who suffer from overweight and obesity put themselves at greater risk of premature death, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, gallstones, gout, osteoarthritis, complications of pregnancy, bladder control problems and various psychological disorders,” _______________ said.

Some facts about obesity and overweight:

  • More than 82.5 percent of Oklahomans with diabetes are overweight or obese.
  • High blood pressure is twice as common in adults who are obese than among those who are at a health weight.
  • Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
  • Less than one-third of Americans engage in the recommended amount of physical activity.
  • Childhood overweight in the US is at its highest level in 30 years, with about nine million children being overweight.
  • Almost half of young people aged 12 to 21 are overweight.

Public health has achieved significant increases in life expectancy over the past 50 years in the US, by reductions in the incidence of injury and disease through population-based strategies that help prevent disease and injury through public education, immunizations and investigations and containment of disease outbreaks.

“We still have a long way to go to help Oklahomans get healthier. We’ve got to get busy -- literally -- and promote changes in attitudes and lifestyles to reduce tobacco use, increase exercise and eat healthier foods,” said __________.

Some health tips to help you shape up your future include eating smaller portions of foods, eating five or more fruits and vegetables each day, and exercising daily for 60 minutes, even if not all at once.

For more information about nutrition and ways to decrease overweight and obesity, contact the dietician or nutritionist at your local county health department.


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