As analysts begin to study the CDC’s recent release of obesity rankings, experts are discussing whether nutrition, exercise, or environment are to blame for the nation’s increasingly high rate of overweight adults and children.
Georgia Public Broadcasting turned to Mary Ann Johnson, one of UGA’s nutrition professors, for thoughts about the new statistics.
Mary Ann Johnson, a nutrition professor with the University of Georgia’s Obesity initiative, says they are concerned.
“65 percent of adults in Georgia are either overweight or obese, with about a third who are obese,” she says.
She says, “We’re concerned it could be the traditional southern diet. But it may just be our focus on quicker meals and really losing sight of where are the calories coming from in our food.”
CBS News also contacted Johnson to discuss First Lady Michelle Obama’s criticism of Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas “splurg[ing] on an Egg McMuffin at McDonald’s” after winning.
Mary Ann Johnson, a professor of Food and Nutrition at UGA, told CBS Atlanta that Douglas’ choice of McDonald’s meal was actually rather healthy.
“[The sandwich] was a good choice for an athlete who burns thousands of calories a day,” she noted. “She is also still growing as a young woman – she has a lot of high-calorie and high-protein needs.”
But Douglas stands as an important role model for children, Johnson told CBS.
“Someone like Gabby Douglas has the power to influence millions of Americans,” she said. “I’m excited to see her sharing her diet, and I’m hoping she really takes a lead on helping all Americans eat healthier.”
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In regards to helping guide all Americans toward better, overall healthier choices, both Johnson and Crawley felt that McDonald’s has taken strides away from its negative stereotype.
“McDonald’s is making a very good effort into providing healthier options,” Johnson said, adding that the company’s trend of providing calorie counts for its menu items is helpful. “People really just don’t know the calorie content of foods off the tops of their heads – this way, it’s up to the consumer to make informed food choices.”