Tennessee is less fat, statistics show - WKRN News 2

Tennessee is less fat, statistics show

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Losing weight and staying healthy is becoming a growing trend in Tennessee.

New statistics show Tennesseans are slimming down.

In recent years, Tennesseans have held the unfavorable distinction of being one of the fattest states in the country but that's changing.

According to the Tennessee Obesity Task Force, Tennessee has gone from the third fattest state in 2009 to the 15th in 2011.

Heather Burczynski has not only lost more than 100 pounds she's kept it off.

"I lost about 130 pounds and I've kept it off for about seven years now," Burczynski told Nashville's News 2, adding the weight loss for her has been a complete lifestyle change.

"[You have to] continue to workout and eat right and that's how I did it," she said. "I watched what I ate, came over here to the Y and worked out after work and just, I was diligent and self disciplined."

In announcing the good news for Tennessee Wednesday, the Tennessee Obesity Task Force cited YMCA outreach programs in rural counties as one of the biggest changes in recent years.

In 2010, the obesity rate in rural counties was just over 70%. That number dropped to 64% in just one year.

For many, the accessibility helps, but the Tennessee Obesity Task Force also believes education is important.

"I never intended to loose 130 pounds," Burczynski said. "My goal was just to get healthy so [when] the pounds [kept] coming off [it] was kind of the bonus for me."

Burczynski said she did nothing but walk for the first year.

"It was a complete shift in my mindset," she continued. "Everyday I have to leave work and go workout. I can't go home because if I went home I wasn't going to do anything so I had to retrain myself to change my life and everything that I did in it."

The task force says Tennessee has a long way to go but believes the state is moving in the right direction.

In addition to creating outreach programs in rural communities, the YMCA is also putting a focus on families instead of individuals with a goal to get moms and dads to change their habits along with the kids.

"The kids are watching you, no matter what you think. They are watching what you eat and they're watching what you do and I have moms that have totally changed their family dynamic."

Federal officials have also instituted new guidelines in school cafeterias, aimed at helping children eat healthy.

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