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Can Oklahoma Stop Obesity Through Commercial Weight Loss Programs? (ContributorNetwork)

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all accounts, health care in Oklahoma is not up to par with much of the rest of the nation and Oklahomans' rank higher than the national average for rates of obesity and smoking. Results of a study published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, may provide some insight into tackling the issue of obesity and overweight in the state.

Oklahoma is one of 12 states that has an obesity rate greater than 30 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a national Health Ranking published in 2009 by the United Health Foundation, the state ranked 49th out of 50 states due to a combination of factors not the least of which is the number of cigarette smokers, the rate of obesity and the high rate of death from heart disease. While obesity is not the only cause of heart disease, it is one of the major risk factors for the condition's development.

In a clinical trial intended to measure the effectiveness of standard weight loss treatment through a primary care physician versus the referral by a health care provider to a commercial weight loss program, the conclusion was clear: The study participants who completed the 12-month assessment period in the commercial weight loss program lost twice as much weight as the participants who completed the study with only standard weight loss care.

The clinical trial, funded by Weight Watchers through the UK Medical research Council, made use of free memberships to Weight Watchers for study participants for the 12-month period. In the past, some researchers had hypothesized that people who paid money for weight loss programs were more likely to follow the program than eating plans that had no cost. That particular hypothesis was taken out of the equation in this clinical trial by the services being provided at no cost to the participants.

Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and some cancers. These diseases fall among the non-communicable disease category–a category responsible for nearly 2 out of every 3 deaths, reports PBS. These diseases not only contribute to a high number of deaths, but affect the quality of life for those who have them.

Becoming healthier and reducing obesity should not only be a mandate for the state as a whole, but for each individual. With the weight loss care comparison, at least making a choice of weight loss programs will be a little easier.

Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.

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