DES MOINES, Iowa -- A recent obesity report is tipping the scales in Iowa. It ranks the state fourth most obese in the nation, sounding the alarm for healthy lifestyle advocates and doctors.
"We're a society that is heavy but also hyper - aware of weight," says Janae Brown, a nurse practitioner with Unity Point Health Clinics.
The reports reveals 36 - percent of adults in Iowa were considered obese in 2017. The percentage is up from just 32 - percent the year before. It's the steepest jump for obesity in a decade. Obesity related health issues are also the highest they've been in Iowa in years. The report points to Iowans from all corners of the state and socio - economical status who are impacted by the issue.
Health experts say it's important to keep an eye on the scale but even more so the numbers you can't see.
"Some people might be 300 pounds and feel like they are doing awesome but what if their cholesterol or blood sugar says otherwise ? Then we have to regroup and find what our new goal is and get down a place where your body feels healthy," says Brown. She recommends people receive an annual exam to make sure they stay ahead of any weight problems and or weight - related issues.
The report is adding fuel to the fire for the Healthiest State Initiative. It's plans on putting a greater emphasis on the "Double Up Food Bucks" program this year, which makes it easier for low income Iowans to eat more fresh produce.
"We were fortunate to receive a FDA grant that will support the program for another three years so we are looking at how we can get into additional retailers as well as how can we continue to broaden our scope at farmers markets," says executive director, Jami Haberl.
Haberl says private donors and federal grants have shelled out roughly $2 million to the program. It's goal is to reduce the number of obese Iowans by 6 - percent by 2021. The program says it is seeing success in its 5-2-1-0 campaign, which encourages Iowans to daily eat five servings of produce, limit screen time to two hours, take part in one hour of physical activity and to eliminate sugary drinks.
Doctors say for those considering a diet to consult them before doing so.