Georgia's Failing Grade - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports


Georgia's Failing Grade

DeeDee Seagraves and Jane Harte said back in February 2006, their weight problems were spiraling out of control. "My heaviest weight was 332 pounds," said Dee Dee.

Jane's was higher than that. "400 pounds," she said.

But it wasn't until Jane, DeeDee, friends and co-workers at Candler hospital, saw a group picture of themselves, did they realize how big a problem their weight had really become. "When we looked at that picture, probably 75 percent of us in that picture were overweight," said DeeDee.

The women weren't alone. Over 26 percent of Georgians are obese. South Carolina faired even worse, tying with Tennessee for the fifth heaviest in the nation. The southeast region failed miserably in the obesity rankings. Dr. Jon Rowlett a pediatric emergency medicine specialist, says it's mainly due to poor choices and a person's socio-economic background. "We have some historical eating trends that are probably not in our bests interests," explained Dr. Rowlett. "More and more of the impoverished regions are in the south with this. We see less opportunities for play, less opportunities for a balanced diet."

He believes the more overweight people get, the more health problems they'll see. But Dr. Rowlett says obesity can be reversed. "It's the difference between saying no to a second helping, between going to a drink of water, rather than a sugared beverage. It's parking your car a little bit further, walking when you can," he told us.

Which is exactly what DeeDee and Jane are doing. After changing their eating habits and exercising at least six days a week, both women have lost a combined total of 306 pounds. They now look and feel great. "A lot better, a lot more energy," said Jane.

DeeDee agreed, "I can't sit still, and that's very different for me."

Both women say they want to lose between 20 and 40 more pounds before they reach their ideal weight. Dr. Rowlett says being obese is not hopeless. Take small steps first and make small goals. There are plenty of health initiatives around Savannah and in schools, to help you get off on the right foot.

Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti,

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