WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)—Everything’s bigger in Texas; especially when it comes to the food and the waistlines. Last year, Texas tied with Oklahoma in 10th place for having the highest obesity rates in America.
In Wichita Falls alone, there are approximately 140 fast food restaurants serving up deep fried and processed treats, with heaping sides of sugar, salt and fat. It may be the reason why Wichita Falls has seen an increase in obesity rates over the couple of years, and where there’s obesity, there’s usually heart disease.
United Regional’s Dr. Michael L. Henderson says while there is a huge meat consumption in Texas, there’s also a huge amount of heart attacks and heart disease in Texas as well. He says a good majority of his patients who come in are considered overweight, and one of the main things he takes into account when it comes to health problems is what is being put on the dinner plate.
“Diet is a huge factor of preventing atherosclerosis, which is basically hardening and thickening of our pipes in our body that carry out blood. When you have hardened pipes and thickened pipes you can get a heart attack, “ says Dr Henderson. “So there’s 3 main causes that get that build up of plaque: saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.”
Foods that are deemed the worst for your heart are:
- Fast Food Burgers
- Red meat
- Anything fried or cooked with margarine
- Processed and cured meats (bacon, sausage, deli meats, etc.)
- Pasta and breads
There’s also bad news for hot dog lovers. According to Dr. Henderson, one hot dog is equivalent to smoking four cigarettes.
Eating fast food more than twice a week has also been shown to cause headaches, acne, dental issues, shortness of breath, blood sugar spikes, bloating and depression.
When it comes to childhood obesity in the U.S., a recent article done by A Partnership for a Healthier America found the ongoing obesity crisis is the reason why for the first time in our history, a generation of American children may face a shorter expected lifespan than their parents.
Dr. Henderson says, “Clogged arteries or atherosclerosis that actually causes heart attacks is being found in children. Even those that are growing inside mothers before they’re born of mothers that have high cholesterol.”
While it isn’t easy, diet is one of the factors of heart disease that can be changed one bite at a time. According to Dr. Henderson, a diet consisting of whole, plant based foods with no meat or dairy can actually start to improve and clean out arteries.
If you have a family history of heart disease and are serious about preventing it, consider:
- Reducing your alcohol and cigarette consumption
- Limiting or getting rid of your red meat intake altogether
- Do moderate exercise 20-40 minutes a day
- Eat your fruits and veggies (and oats)
To set up an appointment with Dr. Henderson, click here.