Some blame farmers and ranchers for obesity problem

By: Kelly Sommariva

The latest numbers say in fifteen years, more than 40 percent of us will be obese. There is controversy, however, why that number keeps growing and who's responsibility it is to keep us healthy.

Obesity: a growing problem that weighs down nearly one-third of Americans. Even bigger? The resulting health risks like high blood pressure and diabetes.

“I'd say it's a lot of different things. Sugar is a big thing, people are getting a lot of extra sugar in their diets,” said Robbyn Nelson, a Dietitian at HyVee.

A new report out this week from the Institute of Medicine argues staying healthy today is nearly impossible. Dietary guidelines suggest eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The average American only gets about three.

The report looks at all kinds of factors contributing to weight gain, including soda, city infrastructure, and the kinds of food U. S. farmers are producing. They say, too much grain, and not enough fruit.

“To try to place the blame of the obesity epidemic on farmers and ranchers who grow corn and soybeans is completely misplaced,” said Jordan Dux with the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Dux says farmers are growing what does best in the Heartland and earns them a living. “Sometimes we try to find a bad guy when at the same time we need to look in the mirror and see the real problem,” said Dux.

In Nebraska, only 25 percent of us are getting enough fruits and vegetables. “Diets tend to be a little low in dairy, plenty high in proteins, grains, things like that but definitely lower in fruits, vegetables and whole grains,” said Nelson.

An easy way to eat more fruits and vegetables? Keep them out in plain sight, like on your counter top, and make sure you're picking the healthiest foods at the grocery store, focus on shopping the outer aisles.