Hey America! You’re Fat!

There’s a new report ranking all 50 states according to how fat its adult residents are.   Mississippi sits at the top of the list where 33% of adults are classified as overweight.  In fact, eight of the top ten fattest states are in the Southeast.  The leanest state in the country is Colorado where 19% of adults weigh too much.

While a lot of ink has been devoted to where states rank, the report by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) also makes several other important points.  For example, adult obesity rates went up in 28 states over the past year.  Only one state (the District of Columbia) saw its adult obesity rate go down.

Also (and this isn’t really anything new) the ethnicity of those who tend to be overweight skews heavily toward Blacks and Latinos, with those groups having the highest obesity levels in 40 states.  Economics also play a role.  The lower the state’s average income level, the higher the obesity rate.

When it comes to child obesity rates, the numbers aren’t as high as adults (thank goodness), but the news still isn’t good – one third of this country’s children and teens are overweight.  What’s worse is that 84% of parents think little Bobby and Sue are at a healthy weight.

But all is not lost.  The report also highlights the fact that government at both the state and local level have undertaken a wide range of policies to bring down obesity levels.  They include the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” program as well as setting healthier school lunch standards. (Click here if you want to read the entire report.)

Those programs are a good start, but the real battle is convincing people to adopt healthy lifestyles at home.  Yes, I know that if you’re a single mom working two jobs to make ends meet that you might not have the time to cook a family meal.  But honestly, how long does it take to boil water and make a box of pasta?  There’s also the argument that healthy food is expensive.   Yes, some of it is.  But the basics are still cheaper than the prepackaged stuff.  And what’s more…you get more meals if you’re buying basic ingredients versus the already made stuff.  (Think a canister of plain oatmeal versus the single serving packets).

So, people, it can be done.  We just have to convince people it’s not as hard as they think it is.


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