Obesity as official disease affects RGV citizens and insurance

News Center 23

POSTED: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 4:12pm

UPDATED: Friday, June 21, 2013 - 8:43am

The American Medical Association has officially declared obesity a disease...and that reclassification could have a huge impact on the Rio Grande Valley, where 80 percent of the population is clinically obese.

"We have a very high rate of obesity in the valley, and I think we can also look at the schools too. The schools need to make PE and exercise an important part of the curriculum for the children."

"Because obesity is occurring more and more in children nowadays, nutritionists are encouraging children to spend more time outside."

Other obesity issues in the Valley could be because of cultural habits as well.

"A lot of people of Mexican descent are more genetically prone to obesity and diabetes, uh, once they reach a certain amount of body fat."

Because Texas is a state that has high employment, our lifestyles can get in the way of taking care of our bodies too.

"In this society basically a lot of people don’t have time to do exercise because of work and also we have some fast food, in which we serve a lot high-calorie, you know, plates."

"What we want to see is half of somebody’s plate either filled with salad, vegetables or fruits, and then the other quarter of the plate, a starch, a grain-a whole grain preferably and then the other quarter protein."

With the declaration of obesity as a disease rather than a condition, some insurance can now cover payment of more conditions caused by obesity. But beware: although the Rio Grande Valley is considered the most overweight region in the US, Medicare plans will not cover conditions caused by obesity in this area.

Reporting in Brownsville, Marty Watson, KVEO News Center 23.

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