More Ector County Residents Obese, Overweight

More Ector County Residents Obese, Overweight

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - Bigger isn't always better, at least not when it comes to your weight.

A recent community assessment by Medical Center Hospital found 70% of adults in Ector County are overweight. That's higher than the state's average of 66%.

The study also found one in three Ector County residents are obese.

"It leads to a lot of different secondary health issues," Diana Ruiz, Director of Population and Community Health, said. "Heart disease, diabetes, emotional depression issues. It's a very profound condition."

One of those, heart disease is also making its mark.

It's the leading cause of death in Ector County with 266 deaths per 100,000 people in Ector County as compared to 180 per 100,000 in Texas.

The folks at MCH says this causes room for concern.

"That's significant to the community because obesity typically leads to heart disease," Ruiz said.

Ruiz said these numbers have jumped over the years.

"What's interesting at the national level is, about two decades ago there was no state that was about higher than a 15% in obesity and now Ector County alone, we're at about a 30%," Ruiz said.

"We've been around since 2004 and we've done probably around 700 patients," Jessica Chorney-Wilson, said.

Chorney-Wilson is a nurse in the Bariatrics Department at MCH. She's seen the effects on patients from unhealthy habits.

"They're on multiple medication, they have sleep apnea, diabetes, joint pain," she said. "They are ready to feel better, they want to be healthier and live a more active life."

Chorney-Wilson said there are several reasons residents are packing on the pounds.

"We socialize around food, many people eat when they're stressed and this can happen from a very young age," she said.

So MCH is using the statistics and reaching out to the community.

"To keep it off from the beginning helps keep you healthier and live a longer more active life," Chorney-Wilson said.

The study also found one in four Ector County residents smoke.