CDC study: Nearly 42% of Americans are obese

Gundersen educator urges small changes to begin handling health issues

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — Nearly 42 percent of Americans are obese, according to according to a federal study taken between 2017 and 2020.

In 2019, the estimated medical cost of obesity nationwide was nearly $173 billion, according to the study from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

People struggling with health issues of any kind should focus on making small changes, said Amanda Westphal, a health educator with Gundersen Health System.

“It can be a process and take time with any behavior change, with any long-term goal that we might have related to health,” she said.

From 1999 to 2017, the obesity rate in the U.S. increased by 11.4 percent.

Obesity and many other issues are limiting the military’s ability to recruit nationwide and in the state of Wisconsin, said Marine Corps Maj. Nathan Blackwell, the recruiting station commander for the Milwaukee area.

About 23 percent of young men and women meet the eligibility requirements to serve in the military. This is down from about 35 percent in recent years, Blackwell said.

Blackwell said he does not expect the Army to reach its quota of recruits this year.

“I think the Army is projecting that they’re only going to be able to enlist and ship I think 40% of what their annual mission is for this year,” he said.

Blackwell also suggested that issues impacting American culture are making it more difficult to recruit.

“The social, political, economic impacts that we’re seeing nowadays have just now exacerbated the obstacles,” he said.

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