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Saying that obesity in Louisiana is a big issue is like saying the Red River is extremely wet.  According to the latest numbers from the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) , nearly one in four residents of the Sportsman's Paradise is obese - placing our state firmly in the top 10 fattest states in the country.

With that in mind, FOX8Live is reporting that thanks to a bill signed into law recently by Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards will now give state employees a surgical option to lose weight.  The bills author, Senator Regina Ashford Barrow of East Baton Rouge, garnered unanimous legislative support for the measure she says that the goal was to extend life and reduce the high costs associated with the procedure - which average $14,000 each.

There are, however, some limitations.  Reportedly, this plan will only cover 300 surgeries for state workers per year.  It will also only cover the first surgery, as many patients find that the procedure fails the first time.

To qualify, state workers must have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher and must suffer from at least one co-morbidity (condition that exists simultaneously with obesity.  For example: type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, stroke, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, hyperuricemia and gout, and osteoarthritis).

Lawmakers expect the plan will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5.7 million for the first year.

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