Texas is continuously falling behind in physical health and the numbers are starting to back that up.
Rising rates of childhood obesity, as well as diabetes, are some of the factors that lead to Texas’ rank as the 10th fattest state in the union, according to a WalletHub story.
According to Wallethub, more than 21 percent of Texas’ children are obese, the second highest in the country. Additionally, roughly 15 percent of Texas children are physically inactive, leading some experts to conclude local governments, schools and organizations could be supplying additional resources to health education.
Texas has the highest volume of fast food restaurants per capita in the country, according to WalletHub statistics.
“Almost 12 percent of the adults in Texas have type two diabetes, the tenth highest percentage in the country,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at Wallethub. “However, the number of projected new cases of diabetes by 2030 is 11,107 per 10,000 residents, which in the 8th lowest nationwide.”
For those at the Hays County Food Bank, their mission has now extended to providing citizens cooking and nutrition classes. These efforts, according to Hays County Food Bank Communications Coordinator Mallory Best, could help educate people on what foods are considered nutritious.
“Unfortunately, people buy what they can afford and healthy foods tend to be a little more expensive compared to your processed, high carb foods,” Best said. “Boxed meals and fast food are cheap. They fill you up fast for now, but they don’t provide any nutrition to the body.”
Best said the cooking and nutrition classes teach people how to cook affordable meals that they can take home to their kids and family. The food bank also challenges its recipients to buy a vegetable they’ve never cooked with before, as a means to spark creativity with what they can cook.
But despite these advancements, the U.S. weight loss and diet control market was valued at around $66 billion, according to the study. Additionally, the United States spends around $200 billion in annual healthcare costs related to obesity.
According to a United States Department of Agriculture Oct. 2018 report, a family of four, with a moderate-cost plan, will spend up to $141 a week on food. Based on these projections, a family of four in the United States will spend over $7,000 a year on food.
Access to affordable, nutritious foods may not feasible for those living below or at the poverty line.
“We try to make sure that a third of everything we distribute is produce,” Best said. “A typical distribution will consist of frozen meat, produce, onions, potatoes, salads and loaves of bread. The goal is to pack as many nutritious foods as we can that will provide people with the fuel to get them throughout their day.”