Watertown— The weather is transitioning; the beautiful orange and red leaves color Upstate, New York as North Country folk start putting on their sweaters. One may think that cold weather would deter people from exercising and that obesity might be higher in cold weather states. However, the “hibernating bear” that only eats, gains weight, and reduces its activity is a theory that does not stand true for North Country folk.
ABC50 spoke with Watertown, New York Doctor William Dingman who is not only a Chiropractor; he is also a Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN). Doctor Dingman stood up for Northern New Yorkers regarding obesity, “Some people may think that because it’s cold out that more people are obese here in the North Country, but that is just not true. Not to say that obesity is not a problem here, obesity is a nation wide issue. It’s just not as high here in New York as it is in other states- especially the southern states.”
Doctor Dingman went on to explain that genetics play a large role in obesity, but so does following poor eating habits learned and passed down from generation to generation. “You can always change the way you eat and make exercise a part of your daily regimen” Doctor Dingman said. Dingman continued to point out a more recent obesity assessment that size is not necessarily weight, "Some of the statistics are way off in regards to what is overweight."
Nonetheless, obesity is a 12 billion dollar problem in New York, funded by Medicaid and Medicare. According to the New York Department of Health, New York is ranked second in adult obesity. However, in a nation wide ranking New York placed 36 with an obesity percentage of 24.5, while Mississippi ranked number 1 highest obese state with a percentage of 34.5. Doctor Dingman stated his skepticism of the reports. He explained that some people weigh more because of their muscle fibers and some times doctors will state that a person is obese, but Dingman is skeptical of health charts because he feels most of them are outdated and unrealistic.
According to a recent Gallup poll, adults today are more obese now then they were 4 years ago.
But, Doctor Dingman has another type of ratio that he feels is more relevant than ones Body Mass Index (BMI), which is the ratio of ones mass divided by their height.
The big thing according to Dingman is not weight being the biggest obesity indicator, rather ones hip waist ratio, which can be an indicator for future health problems such as heart attack or stroke. So, when one divides their hips measurement into their waist measurement, that ratio needs to be 1.0 point or less. So, if your waist is larger than your hips, you are in trouble.
Doctor Dingman provided tips for living a healthier life. Eating foods that are high glycemic index foods, raises ones blood sugar quickly, which are foods that are not high in fiber and can throw ones blood sugar off balance. When someone is stressed out, the stress hormone cortisol is released providing a higher tendency for binge eating. Exercising reduces the stress hormone cortisol; reducing the chance for binge eating, all the while maintaining blood flow and weight balance. As the winter approaches, eating right and finding creative ways to exercise in the North Country, can have added benefits to ones health.