A not-so-good ranking for Alabama

Published 2:09 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2012

By NICOLE LOGGINS / Staff Writer

Alabamians rank 45th overall in health status compared to the rest of the nation, according to the United Health Foundation. If this isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is.

I realize McDonald’s or Taco Bell is faster and sometimes cheaper than cooking a healthy meal, and let’s face it, in this economy, cheap is a requirement. But there are small changes all of us can make to better ourselves.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 36.1 percent of Alabama children and 70 percent of adults are overweight or obese.

This makes our state number one in obesity for adults, a ranking we should not be proud to have.

Shelby County schools have done their part to help combat the state’s health issues by providing a healthier twist on school menus according to Maureen Alexander, Child Nutrition Program coordinator for Shelby County Schools.

The schools now provide students one whole grain and fresh fruit each day.

According to Alexander, schools have also limited serving fried foods to three times each month.

“We’re trying to change eating habits and expose (students) to healthier options, and we hope it’s a lifestyle change,” Alexander said.

So the next time you’re in a hurry and go to a restaurant, ask for a listing of “light” dishes, many restaurants now provide healthier meal options.

Switch to a low calorie soda, or better yet, drink water instead. Go for a walk or run, exercise not only provides wonderful cardio exercise, it also provides a boost for our moods. Let’s all do our part to better ourselves and encourage our families and friends to do the same and live long, healthy lives in Shelby County.

Nicole Loggins is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 40 or by email at nicole.loggins@shelbycountyreporter.com.