Louisiana is the second fattest state in the country (the first is Mississippi), weighing in with one in three adults falling into the obese category. Those extra numbers on the scale also average out to a nearly $150 billion price tag per year for obesity-related health problems.
7News finds out what the Calcasieu Community Clinic is doing to make some big changes in the overweight population locally.
The scales are being prepped and patients are signing up less than a week away from go-time at the Calcasieu Community Clinic for this spring's weight management program.
"The goal of the program is to teach them a healthy, manageable way to keep their weight, rather than fad dieting," said clinic coordinator Tiffany Soileau.
Soileau sees the problems obesity in Southwest Louisiana can cause for the patients coming through their doors.
"It is actually the number two cause of preventable death in the United States," said Soileau, "it can cause breast cancer, coronary artery disease, colon cancer, diabetes."
That is why the CCC, serving the five parish area, has teamed up McNeese State University to offer a program helping overweight patients shape up and providing first-hand experience for dietetic interns at MSU. Debra Hollingsworth, Ph.D., oversees the students involved in the counseling process.
"It gives them counseling experience. It also helps to build their confidence when they go out to work with clients," she said.
This program is about more than the number on the scale. It is also about learning how to exercise correctly and diving into the emotional or psychological issues that can cause you to overeat.
"We do the nutrition component, which is about six weeks," said Dr. Hollingsworth, "then there's a couple of weeks for physical activity or exercise and then there's also a couple of weeks for behavior modification for long-term weight management."
Eligible patients must be working, but unable to get insurance through work.
"Anybody that falls at least 250 percent below the poverty guidelines and they're working at least 20 hours a week or more and they have no available health insurance," said Soileau.
The goal is preventive care - stopping the disease process that obesity brings with it, while shaping up the folks in Louisiana.
The Calcasieu Community Clinic weight loss program kicks off next Tuesday, February 5th. The income eligibility of 250 percent of the federal poverty level amounts to just under $28,000 for an individual. Click here to learn more about the CCC's services.