SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Louisiana is the fifth most obese state in the country according to a new study by F as in Fat 2011. A statistic John Farr is no longer a part of. He stands 6'2" and was once 330 lbs. Now he weighs 100 lbs less. But he couldn't do it alone.
Farr had a procedure known as LAP-BAND surgery, he also changed his lifestyle.
"I was headed for a heart attack or a life altering stroke,' said Farr.
He says his doctor at Surgical Specialists asked him how long he wanted to live, his reply was to see his 4 year old twins graduate from high school.
"She said if I didn't get it under control I probably wouldn't live for five more years," said Farr. Farr was quickly becoming part of the fast growing trend of obese residents of Louisiana.
Since 1995 obesity has nearly doubled.
In fifteen years Louisiana went from 17% rate of obesity, to 31.6 percent.
"I guess the good Cajun food down here, grease, you know fried foods, I've noticed that that's real popular," speculated Farr.
Louisiana's neighbors are starting to tip the scales too.
Arkansas is ninth, and Texas is not far behind at 12th.
The health implications are numerous.
Farr himself suffered from diabetes. The medicines he rattled off were too many to count.
But Farr had his surgery, maintained diet and exercise, and now is much more likely to see his twins graduate.
And while he still thinks Louisiana food is delicious, he says you can appreciate it, and still cut back on how much you eat.
"It's all in your mind," said Farr.
Experts call the growing numbers a national emergency.
And they point to the statistic that indicates the state with the lowest obesity rate today, would have had the highest rate back in 1995.