Environment Plays a Role in Obesity

Business is booming in East Texas and so is the weight of many East Texans. As the number of new restaurants increases, so does the number of residents packing on the pounds. Although environment does play a big part in unhealthy eating habits, lifestyle plays an even bigger role.

Bryan Compton, manager of Livewell Athletic Club, said, "[People are] so busy. It's hard to take the time to cook meals at home, so I think it's just more convenient - especially during the lunch hour - to go out to restaurants and eat there."

Bryan Compton said America's campaign to crack down on obesity is a powerful message, but most Americans are ignoring it because of the availability of fatty foods. And simply joining a health club won't stop weight gain, because a good workout regimen should also include good eating habits.

"The Body Mass Index is a good indicator [of overall health], but along with cardiovascular and strength training, one other very important factor that determines good health is spiritual and emotional wellness, and that plays a very large factor in one's overall health."

Many East Texas restaurants are now offering low-carb and heart smart menu items to help curb unhealthy eating.

Debbie Shanks, co-owner of Casa Ole', said, "I think that every person should be considering what they eat every day to become more healthful. I believe that the restaurants do need to take more responsibility in this because many people eat out today, more than they cook at home."

Casa Ole' is one of many eateries that offers several salads and soups that are low-calorie and fat-free. The restaurant also has healthy meals for kids and senior diners.