ENERGY, IL (KFVS) - Surgeons and patients joined families on Saturday morning to bring awareness about the obesity problem in our nation.
The purpose for the Obesity Awareness Walk hosted by Herrin Hospital was to bring attention and try to thwart the rise in obesity in adults and children.
During the two hour walk and talk at Bruce Park, folks also got to hear firsthand about the problems of losing weight. And the medical complications associated with obesity.
"I think the thing that jogged me into losing weight was watching my father who had diabetes for 40-years, die from complications from diabetes," said Anne Lougeay-Barrett of Carbondale. "And I thought this is how my life is going to end, I don't want that. So I have to figure out a way to lose weight."
And for anyone who is battling obesity, it's not a one plan fits all approach. Barrett says you have to find the combination of things that work for you.
"Whether it's eating less and exercising more. Whether it's having the tool of gastric bypass surgery, which is what I needed," said Barrett. " But it's just a tool it's not the magic bullet. You still have to eat right. And you still have to exercise."
Studies show that two-thirds of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight. And those extra pounds can cause you a lot of medical complications.
"As a result of obesity we tend to deal with a lot of medical conditions," said Dr. Naresh Ahuja, Bariatric Surgeon at Herrin Hospital. " We see sleep apnea, type two diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol to name a few. They result into a poor quality of life. And a poor life span all together."
Part of the program also focused on keeping kids fit, because obesity rates have tripled among kids over the past 30-years.
"It's about 68% of the people in the United States are either overweight or obese," said Dr. Deepu Sudhakaran, General Surgeon at Herrin Hospital. "We as a community should work towards decreasing obesity. So that we lead healthier lives. We're not giving a fair shake to our kids. And we're not raising our kids in a better way so that they can all be more healthy."
Currently the cost of obesity in America costs us all to the tune of $300-billion annually.
"I don't know how much more it's going to cost us in the next 25-years, obesity does have a mental toll and physical toll. I think it also has an economic toll as well," said Dr. Ahuja.