Researchers believe genetics, environment, culture and socioeconomic factors contribute to the trend.
As waistlines grow, so do the rates of high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.
Dr. Joseph Webster is working to combat obesity with a program called Project HEALTH.
"We're not so much concerned with simply memorizing a food pyramid or trying to learn how many calories are in a gram of fat, but what's more important how to make proper choices. All of the kinds of things that will sustain someone for a long, healthier lifestyle,” Dr. Webster explains.
Project HEALTH consists of after school programs in four Leon County schools that teach young students to make proper choices when it comes to food, exercise and activity.