Obesity rates throughout the country are up once again. It seems North Carolina is doing more than its part to keep up with the trend. Apparently this year it is a little heavier than last. According to a new survey, obesity rates are up across the country. North Carolina did nothing to deflate the increase with its rates up 1.5 percent. But with fast food restaurant after fast food restaurant, it can be difficult to monitor your calories and portions. Tamlyn Shields works UNCW Obesity Prevention program. She said “Well fast foods tend to be higher in calories and they tend to have the larger portion sizes so you can super size everything." Avoiding fast food can be difficult for several reasons. Sometimes it is just a matter of convenience but other times people seek out fast food because of a comfort that comes from a bond formed at a younger age. “They have been advertising to the kids. Luckily the past few years they are at least offering healthier choices. So they have the apples now and the milk.” said Shields. There are organizations like the YMCA that are trying to help people to break bad eating habits and get moving. “If you want to be a healthy person and you want to have energy throughout the day and just lead a healthy, valuable life then exercise is definitely the key.” said Brooke Campese, a personal trainer at YMCA. And people in the Port City seem to be aware that balance is the key to a healthy lifestyle. “All your doctor's visits, the last probably two things he'll tell you after everything else, exercise and diet.” said one YMCA member. For those that are nervous about a first gym experience, Campese said it can not hurt to look. “Go and get out and go to a gym, take a tour. Come to the YMCA and take a tour, see what our facility has to offer.” With North Carolina now the 16th heaviest state, the times say to get serious and stop clowning around. Shields said it is important to make exercise a routine like brushing your teeth and kids need to learn the importance of nutrition and exercise early. New Hanover County schools are working on a new physical education program called Spark to Maximize Activity for school students.
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