October 1, 2022

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Health & Fitness

38 South Carolina counties see obesity gains in last decade

38 South Carolina counties see obesity gains in last decade

A new report shows 38 South Carolina counties saw a rise in obesity rates the last 10 years.

A new report shows 38 South Carolina counties saw a rise in obesity rates the last 10 years.

Los Angeles Times

Waistlines have expanded in most South Carolina counties in recent years.

A new report shows that 38 South Carolina counties have grown more obese over the last 10 years. The new data is just the latest in an ongoing obesity epidemic across the U.S., fueled by multiple factors, from poor eating habits to lack of exercise and low income, experts say.

The report was produced by County Health Rankings, a University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute program. The goal of the program is to provide data, evidence and guidance to build awareness of the multiple factors that influence health and support ways to improve health equity.

Allendale and Williamsburg tied at having the highest obesity rates in the state at 46%, the report shows.

Here are the five counties with the biggest jumps in obesity rates in South Carolina between 2012 and 2022, according to the report.

  • Allendale: 11% more obese
  • Dorchester: 9% more obese
  • York: 7% more obese
  • McCormick: 7% more obese
  • Beaufort: 7% more obese

Still, there were five counties in the state that saw a decline in their obesity rates over the last 10 years.

  • Berkley: 3% less obese
  • Calhoun: 3% less obese
  • Jasper: 1% less obese
  • Marlboro: 1% less obese
  • Newberry: 1% less obese

Richland County’s obesity rate rose to 34% in 2022 from 31% in 2012, an increase that doesn’t surprise Dr. Tisha Boston, a family medicine physician in Columbia.

“Yeah, we’ve constantly been seeing an increase and getting more patients in the 200 to 300 and sometimes even 400-pound range,” Boston said.

Boston said poor eating habits and lack of exercise are the main reasons for a rise in obesity in the area. However, it’s not a simple matter of lack of disciple or being lazy for many patients, she said.

“The problem is it’s expensive to eat healthy,” Boston said. “When you look at what it costs to eat at a fast food restaurant for a full meal versus a bag of apples … you get more bang for your buck,” she said. “The fast food is cheaper, but it’s laden with salt and sugar and all those things.”

Regarding exercise, many people are working long hours and then come home to their kids and so don’t have much free time for physical activity, Boston added. Also, gyms can be expensive.

Boston said she works with her patients to help them try and pick the healthiest food options they can, even at fast food places. Or she helps them to plan meals out and cook them all when they have free time, then freeze that food to eat throughout the week.

“And I tell my patients about things they can do … scheduling time for exercise … if you don’t, you won’t do it,” she said. “Make it the first thing you do in the morning or 15 minutes at lunch time.”

For tips on how to lose weight click here.

Below are the obesity rates of all 46 South Carolina counties.

  • Berkeley: (2012) 38% | (2022) 35%
  • Calhoun: (2012) 40% | (2022) 37%
  • Jasper: (2012) 40% | (2022) 39%
  • Marlboro: (2012) 43% | (2022) 42%
  • Newberry: (2012) 37% | (2022) 36%
  • Bamberg: (2012) 41% | (2022) 31%
  • Lexington: (2012) 31% | (2022) 31%
  • Florence: (2012) 35% | (2022) 36%
  • Oconee: (2012) 31% | (2022) 32%
  • Orangeburg: (2012) 40% | (2022) 41%
  • Charleston: (2012) 28% | (2022) 30%
  • Colleton: (2012) 34% | (2022) 36%
  • Darlington: (2012) 36% | (2022) 38%
  • Edgefield: (2012) 36% | (2022) 38%
  • Lancaster: (2012) 33% | (2022) 35%
  • Union: (2012) 36% | (2022) 38%
  • Georgetown: (2012) 35% | (2022) 38%
  • Horry: (2012) 29% | (2022) 32%
  • Laurens: (2012) 37% | (2022) 40%
  • Richland: (2012) 31% | (2022) 34%
  • Sumter: (2012) 37% | (2022) 40%
  • Aiken: (2012) 33% | (2022) 37%
  • Clarendon: (2012) 37% | (2022) 41%
  • Fairfield: (2012) 39% | (2022) 43%
  • Hampton: (2012) 41% | (2022) 45%
  • Kershaw: (2012) 32% | (2022) 36%
  • Lee: (2012) 38% | (2022) 42%
  • Pickens: (2012) 28% | (2022) 32%
  • Williamsburg: (2012) 42% | (2022) 46%
  • Abbeville: (2012) 33% | (2022) 38%
  • Barnwell: (2012) 37% | (2022) 42%
  • Chesterfield: (2012) 35% | (2022) 40%
  • Dillon: (2012) 39% | (2022) 44%
  • Greenville: (2012) 28% | (2022) 33%
  • Greenwood: (2012) 34% | (2022) 39%
  • Marion: (2012) 38% | (2022) 43%
  • Cherokee: (2012) 31% | (2022) 37%
  • Chester: (2012) 32% | (2022) 38%
  • Saluda: (2012) 33% | (2022) 39%
  • Spartanburg: (2012) 30% | (2022) 36%
  • Anderson: (2012) 30% | (2022) 37%
  • Beaufort: (2012) 21% | (2022) 28%
  • McCormick: (2012) 34% | (2022) 41%
  • York: (2012) 30% | (2022) 37%
  • Dorchester: (2012) 30% | (2022) 39%
  • Allendale: (2012) 35% | (2022) 46%

This story was originally published August 9, 2022 5:00 AM.

38 South Carolina counties see obesity gains in last decade

Patrick McCreless is the service journalism editor for The State, where he and a team of reporters write about trending news of the day and topics that help readers in their daily lives and better informs them about their communities. He attended Jacksonville State University in Alabama and grew up in Tuscaloosa, AL.


https://www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article264309166.html