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Survey: Reading still among fattest cities in US

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Mar 07 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 09 2012 06:38:02 AM CST

The list of the fattest and skinniest cities in the U.S. is out, and Reading is tipping the scales.

READING, Pa. -

The list of the fattest and skinniest cities in the U.S. is out, and Reading is tipping the scales.

"Poverty and obesity in our country is actually related," said Dr. Stephan Myers, medical director of the Reading Hospital Weightloss Center.

Last year, the Census Bureau ranked Reading the poorest city in the nation. 

According to the latest Gallup survey, Reading was also one of the top 10 most obese metro areas. The survey said 32.7% of the people in the Reading area are obese.

"Frequently, they have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructed sleep apnea and often, because of all those medical problems, they also have depression," said Myers.

Myers battles people's weight with medical interventions, such as surgery.

"Yes, we're trying to help them lose weight, but people don't usually come to us to lose weight," said Myers. "They usually come to us because their health is suffering and they know if they don't get something done they won't be around for their children and grandchildren very much longer."

The Gallup survey shows there are serious benefits to being on the lighter end of the scale.

According to the study, "people living in the 10 cities where obesity rates are highest are 70% more likely to have diabetes,  58% more likely to have a heart attack, 34% more likely to have high blood pressure, 30% more likely to be clinically diagnosed with depression, and 23% more likely to have high cholesterol than people living in the 10 cities with the lowest obesity rates."

"And all of that can be improved once they get their weight off because it's caused by their weight," said Myers, who helps people with serious issues related to their weight.

In addition to what Myers does, other interventions need to take place in the Reading metro area if we're to improve in our rankings, he said.

"You got to go to the children, you have to work with the schools, you have to increase the activity," said Myers.