Locals Give Take on Obesity Diagnosis Stance

When Terry Narlock decided to make a change in her life to be healthy, it was thanks to someone special in her life, her grandson Nathaniel.

“He was in the ICU for eight days,” Terry Narlock said. “I would talk to him and rock him and it made me realize if I didn't get better how couldn't be around to enjoy him."

So she decided to work and lose 102 lbs. in seven months.

"I still want to lose 60 more. I do,” Narlock said. “I'm going to do it.”

Terry’s old life has now become a trend, and the American Medical Association’s declaration of obesity as a disease fits with the trend local doctors are seeing in Wisconsin.

Dr. Eric Penniman, medical director for primary care at Marshfield Clinics, said this announcement isn’t a surprise.

“Now that it's described as a disease, it'll help them focus on, ‘yeah it's not just a way of life,’” Penniman said. “It has negative consequences.”

The 2011 Life Respondents Life Report said Marathon County fits the national level of obesity. In Marathon County, 27 percent are obese and 37 percent are considered overweight.

"I've seen a lot of dramatic improvements in my diabetic patients who have had gastric bypass surgery,” Penniman said. “They are now are off insulin and are off their diabetic medicine.”

Penniman also said insurance companies are covering more treatments and Marathon County’s obesity numbers have not decreased in three years.

Another factor that has contributed is the amount of television adolescent boys watch. He said he believes the staggering numbers that fall in that demographic are due to the amount of video games played, which causes weight loss from lack of exercise.

Narlock agreed that there needs to be something done to help the younger generations with their eating habits.

"The children who are obese, they don't drive themselves to McDonald’s. They don't stock the shelves,” Narlock said. “Somebody needs to take all that soda away from them and all those Cheetos and all that fast food and processed food and give them fresh produce and teach them how to eat correctly.”

If anyone needs help, Narlock said she could give encouragement.

"Don't be intimidated,” Narlock said. “Don't talk about it. Just do it.”

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