Waco, Tx — We all know obesity is an epidemic plaguing the United States, but it is a problem we can change. In the last year, obesity rates rose in 16 states, and no state decreased their rating. However, by learning proper eating habits, we can reverse the trend.
Nearly two dozen Central Texans are learning how to cook in order to put an end to an epidemic. In the last year, Texas was ranked 12th in the nation with the highest rates of obesity.
"Portion sizes have grown, in some cases tripled, in the last 20 years," said Deanna Franklin, McLennan County Extension Agent for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
Health experts say there's one common factor to the problem-poor nutrition.
"Everything starts with nutrition. And then, once you get that down, you can start incorporating the other things that go along with that, which is exercise," said Armando Galindo, Diabetes Coordinator for the Waco McLennan County Public Health District.
By learning how to properly cook, you can cut down not only on obesity, but also the other diseases you face by being overweight.
"It contributes to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol," said Galindo.
58-year-old Irene Bridges says she grew up on a farm with poor eating habits.
"We used a lot of lard and just frying a lot," said Bridges.
She says bad eating and a sedentary lifestyle have contributed to her obesity and diabetes. But, these cooking classes empower her to do better.
"Other people face the same trials and problems and situations," said Bridges.
Officials say obesity is not an epidemic that can be solved overnight.
"Set yourself some small goals so that you can feel successful at that," said Franklin. Franklin also advises everyone to work to “maintain and not gain” over the holidays.
Reports show if the average body mass index in the state by was reduced by just 5 percent, we could save more than 50-billion dollars by 2030.
If you missed Tuesday’s class, there will be another one next week. The class will be held at the Columbus Avenue Church in Waco from six to eight on the evening of December 11. These classes are free of charge.