Nearly one in three Louisiana citizens is not just overweight, they are considered obese. That's according to the results of a new survey completed and published by Gallup. The Gallup Poll showed that 33% of Louisiana's citizens are obese. That's five percentage points higher than the national average of 28%.

Baton Rouge was listed as the most obese city in the nation with an obesity rate of 36%. According to Dr. Amanda Staiano, Pennington  Biomedical Research Center Assistant Professor, it's the combination of Louisiana's tasty foods and sedentary pastimes that literally tip the scale against us.

So we're really missing out on a lot of the important healthy food and exercise that can keep the pounds off.

Dr. Staiano spoke to the Louisiana Radio Network about the results of the Gallup Poll and she went on to say that while food intake and exercise contribute greatly to a reduction in obesity. There is another factor, genetics, that has to be considered. However, anyone can improve their personal health by watching what they eat and developing a healthy exercise plan.

Currently obesity is responsible for nearly $3 billion dollars in state spending every year. When you consider the cost of health care as it relates to obesity the state could save money by offering its citizens better options.

We also need to figure out how we can get fresh produce and lean meats into the hands of people living in these poorer neighborhoods.

Staiano notes a link between financial hardship and obesity. Quite often those families in poorer areas of the state simply can not afford to make healthier meal choices. It is certainly something that our lawmakers need to look at not only for our better health but our state's financial health as well.