Yakima 4th Most Obese City in the Nation

It looks like the City of Yakima is expanding, not in the  number of businesses or residents, but rather, in individuals' waistlines.

According to research from Gallup, Yakima is the fourth most obese city in the country.

One local personal trainer tells us he's stunned.

"Fourth place in the country?" asked Foi Malaki, "That's pretty substantial, I can't really come to understand it."

The study collected data over the past two years, taking samples from well-being index surveys and random-digit-dial sampling.

Researchers found 35.7% of people living in Yakima to be considered obese -- trailing the top three by single digits.

About 5 years ago, Yakima's obesity rate hovered just over 30%, ranking 8th in the nation.

What are some of the things contributing to the problem?

Health experts say it could be a number of things; it could be a matter of convenience, people are always on the go, they resort to fast food.

Or it could be the fact that a large portion of the residents are low income, and unfortunately, it's all they could afford.

"A lot of people think on a low income they can't afford healthier foods, but there are lots of different options that you could buy on a low income," said dietitian Katie Wolff, "And it's education on how to store those foods maybe, and how to prepare them."

"It's very simple, weight management is very simple," said Malaki, "You watch what you eat, exercise a little bit, an hour a day and you should be okay."

However, trainers say taking the first step towards a healthy lifestyle is always the biggest step.

"Trying to become active and be health conscious when it comes to diet can be very difficult," said Malaki, "It's very difficult to let go of vices both physical and mental."

The Tri-Cities has about a 30% obesity rate --  Bellingham ranked among the top ten healthiest cities in the country, with about an 18%obesity rate.

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