Obesity and the heart disease mortality rate are higher than the state average in Ector County, according to a recent study published by Medical Center Health System.
According to the study on average more than 70% of Ector County adults are overweight or obese.
That's 4% percent higher than the state’s average of 66%.
Terri Edmiston struggled with her weight since she had her first child at the age of 22. She tried different ways to lose weight, but every method only temporarily kept off the pounds off, until she turned to surgery.
“There was a big change I lost 76 pounds in just 6 months’ time,” said Ector County resident Terri Edmiston.
Edmiston had bariatric surgery that removed 80% of her stomach, which helped her lose weight and gain a healthy lifestyle. Experts say obesity affects more than just people's waistline.
“You know obesity is the cause of multiple illnesses and what we see a great deal is type 2 diabetes and of course heart disease, high cholesterol, sleep apnea,” said Bariatric Coordinator, Jessica Chorney-Wilson.
The health care system also released a study that found Ector County residents were on average, less physically active than Texans as a whole.
“With the boom we have a lot more transitional lifestyle….We may be working very hard but we are not reaching that cardiovascular fitness level that we really need to have to prevent heart disease,” said Director of The Center For Heart Disease, Brenda Neckels.
Edmiston says she's kept the weight off by exercising regularly and not eating the junk food she used to crave.
“I used to be the queen of fast food,” said Terri Edmiston.
Fast food is widely available in Ector County and according to MCH officials, a big problem when it comes to obesity.
“Fast food is available on every street,” said Jessica Chorney-Wilson.
“Fast food places and the lifestyle here,” said Bariatric Dietitian, Kayal chandramohan.
“Eat real food, not fast food,” said Brenda Neckels.
Edmiston says everyone's weight loss is different and, bariatric surgery was right for her and helped transform her into a new person.
“I went to my dentist, I had not been in for about 4 months, I went in for a cleaning and the receptionist didn't recognize me,” said Terri Edmiston.
Edmiston says her favorite thing about her weight loss so far, is going from size 18 jeans to size 4.