More than 92 million people in the US battle obesity, the Centers for Disease Control reports.  Runners in the CSRA took part in an annual race in hopes of helping to lower that issue.  

“My thighs are on fire but overall I may do it again,” said Steven Vickers.

Hundreds of people made a trek through the streets of the Garden City for the 11th Augusta Half Marathon.

Augusta University Bariatric Surgery Director Dr. Renee Hilton explained, “Wanted to do something fun with our entire team that would get everyone together and get outdoors and do something that was fit and healthy.”

While many racers had their own reasons for running, Dr. Hilton and her team ran to bring awareness to obesity issues.
She said, “Obesity right now is one of the leading causes of death in our country.

32% of Georgians suffer from obesity, so people need to change their lives said Dr. Hilton.

“Georgia is one of sevens states in the entire country that doesn’t have access to bariatric surgery on their state employee benefit plan. A lot of our patients, if you talked to them a year ago, a lot of them would probably tell you there’s no way I would’ve thought I would be running a 5k.” 

Vickers had bariatric surgery last year and defied those odds.

He said, “I’m 6 months out and 75 lbs down. My wife went through the surgery a little over a year ago herself and it’s a definite change for the both of us. We’ve probably lost a total of half of me, about 150 lbs or more.”

The process to get bariatric surgery takes around three to six months and Vickers says he’s happy he got it because he can do more activities with his kids.

“It’s not just about making people look good and getting people skinny. It saves people’s lives,” said Dr. Hilton.

Dr. Hilton will travel to Atlanta to talk with lawmakers about adding bariatric surgery to state employee benefit plans.