Madison County: A Healthy County With A Fast Food Problem

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"It's good mood food," but it's hurting the health of Madison County residents. In a recent national survey, Madison County fell below state averages in its prevalence of fast food and limited access to healthy food.

In fact, 57 percent of the county's restaurant's serve fast food. The state average is 55 percent.

According to health.com, Alabama resident frequently choose to have it their way spending close to 60 percent of their annual dining-out budget on these cheap and convenient meals.

"They love eating fast food because it's quick, it's easy, it's fairly inexpensive and it's a habit they've gotten into," said registered dietician Linda Steakley, "so they have to break that habit."

But it's not easy. With a lack of farmers' markets and vegetable stands in the area, residents need to use some strategy to avoid "making a run for the border."

"You have to plan," said Steakley. "If you don't plan, it's not going to happen.  You're going to pull right into that fast food restaurant."

If you do decide to "eat mor chikin," aim for healthier options.

"Once a week, if you want to do that, that's fine," said Steakley. "But if you would eat at home more often, you're going to find that it's not going to cost as much as you think."

Steps to make the state's fourth healthiest county even healthier.

As far as how other counties measured up, Limestone County ranked fifth healthiest in the state with Morgan County right behind it. Lauderdale County and Dekalb County finished in the top twenty. Franklin County is one of the state's most unhealthy counties ranking 54 out of 67.