New report on obesity in North Country reveals need for healthier habits

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 6:18 PM EDT

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - A staggering new report on obesity in the North Country has the Clinton County Health Department working to help the community establish healthier habits.

“Eat in a way that’s going to make you feel good,” said Annie Hutchinson, a registered dietician at Gifford Health Care in Vermont.

Hutchinson said when it comes to your eating habits, the greener and grainier you go, the better you’ll feel.

“That looks so different for everyone, so I really think going based off the way you feel is the best way to determine if what you are eating is really suitable for you,” she said.

Hutchinson said healthy foods can also increase your quality of life and in some cases, make you live longer!

Eating unhealthy foods can lead to obesity or other chronic diseases.

A recent study from the Clinton County Health Department found that a majority of county residents are obese, including children. The report shows that 36% of elementary school kids are overweight or obese, 46% of middle schoolers and 70% of adults in the county are considered obese.

To help change that, the health department is teaming up with sought-out establishments, like the mall, to find ways to offer healthier food choices.

“We are trying to introduce healthier options in the community so people can make those healthier choices,” said Malana Tamer of the Clinton County Health Department.

The mall is in the process of swapping out its vending machine options to offer more filling and healthy snacks like mixed nuts or jerky.

“There is about five or six vending machines they have spread out throughout the mall and most of them are in places like the Kids Zone, the bouncy house store, so they are targeting kids,” Tamer said.

The health department is able to do this because of a $1.5 million grant from the state to tackle physical health and healthy eating, and they hope to team up with more places in the community to work on changing habits.

“We are open to working with any worksite or community site that serves food to the public. So, a cafeteria, a vending machine, snack bar, etc,” Tamer said.

The state grant runs until 2026.

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