Green Bay area reacts to obesity survey

GREEN BAY – It’s not the best list to be on. Green Bay is ranked the tenth most obese metro area in the United States. That’s according to a new Gallup survey released last week.

Green Bay tied with Rockford, Illinois for the dubious honor.

The results were based on Gallup surveyors asking people how tall they are and how much they think they weigh, and then using a body mass index to determine whether they’re obese.

Doctors said they aren’t surprised by the results. However, folks around town say it’s not easy to change a lifestyle.

Firing up grills at a Lambeau tailgate, or digging into a big plate at the quintessential Kroll’s.

“Burgers, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, we call ‘em butter burgers because we put butter on them,” said Robyn Bartel, manager at Kroll’s West.

In the Green Bay area, eating is all part of the culture. Yet, that culture could be contributing to a self-described, 33 percent obesity rate.

“Ethnic and social backgrounds, educational backgrounds, that all plays into the food choices people make and the way they eat. Whether they tend to eat more because it’s just a thing to do,” said Dr. Todd Reynolds with Prevea Health.

Reynolds says the rates of obesity have gone up all over the country in recent decades.

Reynolds says sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy fast food options play a part.

“If you’re going to eat calorie dense foods and you’re not going to increase your exercise, of course you’re going to gain weight,” said Reynolds.

In the capital of cheeseheads, is it really probable that people are going to give up their favorite foods?

“I’m not obese and I love cheese. I eat a lot of cheese,” said Kayla Scray.

The manager of Scray’s Cheese says her family’s product is fine in moderation.

And, there are plenty of other factors adding to people’s extra pounds.

“I think people these days everything is easier for everybody and it’s cold here and people get lazy in the winter. It’s been so long since it’s been nice like today,” said Scray.

So food and exercise are contributing factors.

But what about many people’s ancestors?

You know, the stocky Northern Europeans who largely settled this area. Couldn’t this all be genetic?

“I’ve heard that said as well, but I haven’t actually seen any evidence-based studies to really prove that that is the case,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds says it takes time and effort to make a lifestyle change and lose weight. But he says the benefits outweigh the things people might have to give up.

By the body mass index measurement, some famous Green Bay area residents—Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk, Eddie Lacy, and John Kuhn—are obese.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers would fall into the overweight category.

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