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Medical Insight

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) -- New numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health indicate a drop in adult obesity across the state.  Obesity dropped from 27.6 percent to 26.1 percent, that's only one and a half percent, but when compared to neighboring states, it's a significant difference.  "It is statistically significant that we went down 1.5 percent because we are seeing a state wide trend that people are beginning to be healthier with these additional options," said Annie Harala, the Northeast Regional Coordinator for the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP).  Health officials credit the healthier lifestyles to investments made through SHIP.  "We work throughout communities in making sure that all parts of the community are walk-able and bike-able and people have opportunities to be active," said Louise Anderson, Director of the Carlton-Cook-Lake-St. Louis Community Health Board.  Health officials say SHIP spends about $17.5 million dollars per year supporting grants to community partners to promote healthy life styles. Meanwhile, Wisconsin has the 19th highest adult obesity rate in the nation. The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America says the state's obesity rate comes in at 30.7 percent, up 19.4 percent from 2000. Louisiana has the highest adult obesity rate in the US and Colorado has the lowest. Minnesota is the only state in the mid-west that has kept its obesity rates below 30 percent, according to the Center of Disease Control.  Rhonda Sievers is one Minnesotan who is helping the state in its downward obesity trend.  "I started out as 263 pounds and I ended down to 185 pounds just by working out every day eating healthier and working out every day," said Sievers.   She said she decided to make the change after getting sick and being pre-diabetic.  "I just didn't feel like being sick anymore. and then now that I lost 100 plus pounds, I'm off all those medications the doctor prescribed me."  Health officials recommend adults move for 30 minutes a day while kids should move for 60 minutes a day.