• Dennis McCaslin

Sebastian County residents 55% lower than the state average of 63 pounds on obesity index

By: Santiago Orozco

Obesity is one of the leading health problems in the world today. In 2018 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the obesity rate as 42.4%. Adult obesity rates are highest in Mexico, United States, and New Zealand. Obesity is also associated with many health conditions and diseases, including stroke, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain forms of cancer.

Non-Hispanic black adults have the highest prevalence of obesity - 49.6%, followed by non-Hispanic white adults - 42.2%, and non-Hispanic Asian adults - 17.4%. Obesity is more common among adults aged 40 to 59 years old.

According to recent statistics, 66.3% of Arkansas’s total adult population were overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 and higher. Also, 30.1% of all adults living in the Natural State were obese, with a BMI of 30 or higher.

The statistics also say that 29.8% of adults in Arkansas have not participated in any physical activity during the past month, which can be one of the main reasons for adult obesity.

Unhealthy dietary behaviors are another reason - 74.3% of the adult population in Arkansas, when surveyed, ate fruits or drank fruit juice less than two times per day during the previous seven days. Moreover, over 33% of them drank a bottle, can, or glass of soda at least one time per day.

We’re used to reading obesity reports and numbers that reflect what the epidemic looks like on a country-wide or world-wide scale, but what about locally? How are individual counties faring in the fight?

Thanks to visitors to Dietspotlight from Sebastian County, we can see behind the curtain to reveal not all of Arkansas is in the same boat.

Based on the data collected:

Men in Sebastian County aren’t searching for weight-loss assistance the way women are, or at least they’re not as willing to share information like height, weight, and location, even if it’s anonymous.

Women weigh, on average, 161 pounds and have a body mass index (BMI) of 27.1. This BMI, or body fat measure, is only slightly above the high-end score of healthy at 24.9.

That means the average Sebastian County resident looking to lose weight needs to lose about 28 pounds. Dietspotlight research suggests “that’s 55% lower than the state average of 63 pounds and 52% lower than the country average of 59 pounds.”

The State of Arkansas has been taking different measures to combat adult obesity for many years.

One of the programs is the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ARCOP). The workgroup teams focus on the following:

●Building environment. This includes technical assistance to communities that wish to

improve likeability and walkability.

● Accessing healthy foods. The increasing availability of healthy foods includes support and assistance for farmers' market placement and sustainability.

● Worksite wellness. Technical assistance to worksites that try to reduce obesity rates and obesity-related diseases through physical activities and other wellness programs for


You can check out the Arkansas Department of Health for more information.

Dietspotlight is the home to health and wellness resources collected over more than ten years. All research shared on the website is reviewed for relevance and accuracy by a team of medical and nutrition professionals.






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