COLUMBUS COUNTY, DC (WWAY) -- Unhealthy habits continue to plague Columbus County. A report released today shows the county is again the unhealthiest in the state, taking into account several factors including obesity and inactivity.
"Unfortunately most residents in our county don't eat healthy, and they're not physically active," said Sarah Gray, Healthy Programs Leader at the Columbus County Health Department.
Today's report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows Columbus County is ranked the very worst for healthiness among the North Carolina's 100 counties.
Perhaps most notable is the county's adult obesity rate of 34 percent. That's well above the national rate of 25 percent. According to the study, fast food restaurants make up 60 percent of all the restaurants in the county.
"That's pretty alarming," Gray said. "I didn't think it was quite that high, and again...Yeah that's pretty high."
With an unemployment rate nearing 13 percent, residents tell us they turn to fast food joints, like Whataburger, to save money.
"Factories are closing down, department stores are closing down because of big stores coming in," Jimmy Feltwell said.
"They don't have the money to buy the good, healthy food," John Singletary said.
And many people we spoke with agree: unhealthy habits have become part of their county's culture, causing them to give into their cravings.
"I love their fries, their hamburgers," Carol Laws said. "hey're good."
County health leaders tell us they have started several programs aimed at healthy eating and exercise.
Bladen county also came in with a poor rating at 97 out of 100 counties.
New Hanover was 10th best in the state, Pender County ranked 28th, and Brunswick County ranked 47th. Wake County ranked No. 1.