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FIRST ON 3: Survey says Columbus unhealthiest county in the state; Bladen lags while New Hanover makes top 10

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Survey says Columbus unhealthiest county in the state; Bladen lags while New Hanover makes top 10

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.

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What a shame we can't live

What a shame we can't live in a great place, like Durham.


Just the murders alone would make it unhealthy.

Unhealthy Bladen

As a Bladen resident, I am not surprised that we are nearly on the bottom when it comes to health. Obesity is a major problem caused by unhealthy eating and *especially* by *inactivity*.

In addition to being an unhealthy county, Bladen is rapidly becoming one of the most visually-blighted counties in the state. Many rural residents do not keep up their properties, allowing junk and all kinds of trash to accumulate.

The blight invites litterers to throw trash out of their moving vehicles because when they see blighted properties, they think, "Nobody cares, so why should I?" And they give their trash a toss.

The Board of Commissioners seem to take little or no interest in the degradation of our county's appearance.

And I remember when people used to say how attractive Bladen was.
It's a shame, but we're beginning to look like our county belongs in a third-world country.

loosing pride

great observations. I have seen this trend in many areas. I moved to Navassa a few years back, at the main entrance there is a "Governors Community of Excellence " sign. My first thought when I seen it was, "what happened"