Welcome to the Annual Obesity Awards! CalorieLab, Inc. conducts an analysis of obesity rates among the 50 states in the US and releases the rankings. This year’s results contain some dramatic shifts:
- Mississippi is the fattest state, followed closely by West Virginia and Alabama. All three of these high-scorers can brag about obesity rates of more than 30%, while the first two can also claim that 2/3 of their populations are either overweight or obese according to the CDC. This means that there is a 1 in 3 chance that someone you meet from
Mississippi or West Virginia will be noticeably fat.
- Delaware snagged the most-changed honor, rising 8 places in the ranking to the 21st fattest state. Considering how easy it is to miss Delaware in any state-naming game, I’d say it’s truly plausible that Delaware spent the last year guzzling junk food just so we’ll remember that it actually exists.
- As in previous years, Colorado is the lowest-ranked state, not even reaching a 20% obesity rate, with Hawaii the second loser at 20.7%. Considering how completely different these states are in geography, weather, and lifestyle, one has to think there’s some sort of conspiracy going on.
- California’s obesity rating didn’t change at all this year, although the golden state’s ranking compared to its brethren dropped from 36th to a pitiful 41st.
- Also of note, the obesity rate in the District of Columbia actually dropped by 0.1 percent, although this could be attributed to the stress of the dramatic election season, the mess that is our economy, the sorry state of our foreign affairs, and the fact that, not being a state, they have no representation in Congress. That would definitely destroy my appetite.
This year’s awards results clearly show how vehemently the United States are fighting for the top honor currently held by Mississippi. Obesity has become a national obsession, similar to many of its causes such as fast food and a TV-dominated lifestyle. But what about its results? The consequences of obesity have yet to capture the mass’s attention, and so we can at this point only apply the label epidemic.
Obesity is tied to health problems all over the body, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility, dyslipidemia, and thyroid conditions. And this is just adult obesity- childhood obesity affects health and psychological well-being to an exponential extent .
Of course, if you’re not fat, and I’m not fat, why should we care? We exercise and eat right. Let other people worry about parents who only feed their kids McDonald’s.
While obesity is clearly tied to food consumption (if you look at the map, you can practically see a correlation between frequency of grits-eating and fatness), it’s not just a health issue. It’s also an economic issue, a racial issue, a political issue. It’s our issue. And unlike so many other epidemics currently running rampant in our world, this one is curable. All it takes is a bit more attention, a bit more caring.
So don’t just eat right, but help others choose wisely, as well. This is one award we don’t want to win.
<Shari is a new contributor to blog.FriendsEAT.com. We’d like to welcome her and hope to see more great pieces from her.>