TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - If you have found yourself loosening your belt an extra notch lately, you are not alone. State health officials say obesity is the No. 1 health risk, and a new study shows seven out of 10 Floridians are overweight.
Catherine Howard, with the Department of Health, says more people are becoming overweight at an alarming rate.
"Children who start out at an unhealthy weight that are overweight and obese in childhood are much more likely to stay overweight or obese in adulthood," said Howard.
Currently, only three out of 10 Floridians are at a healthy weight. Florida State University Assistant Professor Dr. Michael Ormsbee said it's a trend sweeping the nation.
"If you can just eat according to your hunger, it helps a lot," said Ormsbee. "We overfeed ourselves so much. We don't need the Thanksgiving belly every time we eat."
Florida is battling the bulge by introducing a new "Healthiest Weight" campaign.
"It's not so much the way people look, it's how healthy are they," said Howard.
Six out of 10 children born today will be obese by the age of 18 if nothing is done to curb the current trend. Experts say everyone can change, no matter their weight or waist size.
"We don't need to be perfect but if you can, be consistent with your eating patterns and consistent with your exercise," said Ormsbee. "If you have a bad day, it's OK. Just get back on track the next day."
Currently one out of four adults is obese and overall, 62 percent of Floridians are considered overweight or obese.
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