1 in 3 people are obese in the Tri-Cities

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- It was a black eye for the Tri-Cities when we were named one of the fattest areas in the nation. Especially-high rates of obesity are found here in Benton and Franklin Counties. Couple that with thousands who are uninsured..and solving the problem can be expensive.

Wendy VanKlinken's dad and brother have diabetes.

She says, "So I'm definitely aware. It's a conscious effort to try and eat healthy."

The latest community health study says Benton and Franklin Counties are fatter than the state average. Nearly a third of people living in the Tri-Cities are considered obese. Not just overweight, but obese. Adults of average height weighing more than 200-pounds fall into this range.

10% have been diagnosed with diabetes. These stats are all above what's found on average across Washington.

"It's not surprising. I notice the portions in the restaurants are like double," Wendy tells KEPR.

The Community Health Alliance spearheaded the study and believes a lack of health insurance is partly to blame.

She continues, "People are hesitant to go and spend money out of pocket because it's so expensive."

But I found out that there's many options for people who are looking for preventative health on a budget.

For women, Lourdes Medical Center provides five free clinics a year for free mammograms. Kadlec hosts an entire weekend in the summer for free breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings.

For men, the Tri-Cities Cancer Center has free kits for colon cancer screening offered year round for those over 50 who can't afford it.

And since losing weight is at the core of the issue, we also found options there. We didn't find anything strictly free, but Richland offers $5 drop in yoga. At the Southridge Complex in kennewick, you can get a $20 discount punch card for volleyball and basketball. And Pasco offers a free Zumba class for first timers, $25 a month after that.

All to get the Tri-Cities on a turnaround to a better, healthier trend.

The dates and times for free screenings will be posted on the hospital's websites about a month in advance. You can find links on