Myrtle Beach is known for beautiful beaches, good food, southern hospitality and now as the 16th most obese out of a list of 100 cities, according to a study just released by wallethub.com.
“I am not satisfied with my current size, and it is hard to love myself when I constantly get negativity from the people closest to me,” said Kaley Larimore, a college student.
Many like Kaley will try to shed the pounds by dieting or exercising. But for some teenagers, it is the parents who are taking a proactive approach.
“Usually the parents are aware the kids aren’t getting much physical activity in schools anymore,” said Cameron Sanders, a personal trainer.
Sanders feels the rise of technology is a contributing factor in the battle of the bulge.
“With social media and technology, you don’t ever have to leave the house to go anywhere or do anything,” Sanders said.
Sanders says parents taking the initiative is a good thing but presents a challenge for the trainers.
“As a trainer, we have to find a way to motivate them to want to do it for themselves and not because their parents want them to do it,” Sanders said.
Sanders faced his own challenges growing up, and he remembers those struggles as he coaches his clients.
“When I was a middle school teenager, I was obese,” Sanders said. “I was a fat kid who loved his ice cream. That was all I ever had.”
He said he is glad when a client comes to him asking for help. He tried to help himself when he was a teenager but ended up doing more harm than good.
“I didn’t have anyone there to help and teach me,” Sanders said. “I taught myself out of magazines and books. But I suffered a lot of injuries because of it. I had no idea what I was doing. Now here I am in my mid-20s with a bad back, two bad shoulders. So, I just want to help them and be able to teach them.”
Sanders says the biggest challenge a teen working toward a better lifestyle might have to overcome is themselves.
“You have to tell them that what they are doing is going to help them overall. As they increase their appearance their motivation increases, as their motivation increases, they do well in all aspects,” Sanders said.
Washington is also taking notice of the obesity problem. The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2017 was introduced in both the Senate and House.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over a third of US adults, 36.5 percent are obese.
The top 20 fattest cities on the WalletHub list were located in South Carolina. Columbia, S.C. ranked Number 11, followed by the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin metropolitan area.
The Augusta-Richmond County metropolitan area – which includes parts of the Palmetto State – held the number 19 spot.