Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hey! Who You Callin' Fat??!!

Photo Credit: All Refer Health

So, yesterday, Mississippi was in the news again, but not as the state at the bottom of some list {as in last}, instead we once again top the list as the fattest state of union.

Except this year, poor Alabama ... the headlines read "Mississippi still the fattest state... but Alabama is closing in."

Who are these people at this Trust for America's Health conducting this survey of fat Americans anyway? I mean, nobody rang my doorbell and greeted me with an up and down look when I opened the door and then registered on their little clipboard, "yep, fat." Nope. Don't recall that happening. So where does this scientific information come from anyway? Well, whoever they are, they say we are the fattest state with an obesity rate of 32.5% (+/- 0.9).

Makes it sound like something that everybody can poke fun at, and I'm sure that like years before, the diet message boards are out there making fun and poking fingers at Mississippi and posting pretty derogatory quips back and forth about The South in general. Well Bless Their Little Hearts, of course they are. They're all HUNGRY.

But hold on just a minute there.

Yes, Alabama is at 31.2%.
West Virginia 31.1%
Tennessee 30.2%

But, even Pennsylvania has an obesity rate of 26%. Now by my calculations, well that's just not so far behind Tennessee, West Virginia, Alabama or Mississippi for anybody to be looking down anybody's nose.

In fact, adult obesity rates increased in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state in the past year. In 31 states, more than one in four adults are obese. That's 31 states folks. 1 in 4 of us. And guess what. They ain't all in the south.

Ohio's obesity rate is at 28.6%
Wisconsin 26%
Oregon 25.4%
Washington 25.4%
New York 24.5%
California 23.6%
New Jersey 23.4%
Washington D.C. 22.3%
Vermont 22.1%
Rhode Island 21.7%

And even Colorado, purportedly the so-called leanest state still has an 18.9% (+/- 0.6) obesity rate.

So, apparently, in the good old U.S. of A. we are all too fat. Curious where your state stands? Go here.

There are two reasons we're fat in the south. One, our food is wonderfully delicious and we indulge in it a bit too often I suppose, because, well, in the south our food is wonderfully delicious!

And two. It's too darned hot down here 99% of the year to exercise!

Seriously though, one of the biggest reasons for obesity across our nation today everywhere is pure and simple poverty, and given the fact that Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the country, I'm not at all surprised that we top the list.

Many of us, who don't necessarily have to wonder where our next meal will come from, close our eyes to the poverty thing - that is until something like Hurricane Katrina pokes it right in our face. But poverty exists, and it exists right around the corner from Main Street Everywhere. For those folks and many just above the poverty line, there's the high cost of quality foods and the ease and availability of cheap, processed food and dollar menus at fast food joints. That's a big contributory factor to the rate of obesity in our nation.

Then there's the big one. Inactivity.

When I was young, I was super thin. And, really it wasn't because I ate so well. I didn't. I ate junk food. I ate fast food. And I ate the kind of foods I blog about. But the difference is that I was very active. As a child, we played outside all the time. I mean, all the time. I hardly see a child outside anymore, unless they are just above toddler age. Why? Because of the availability of a gazillion television channels, high speed internet connections and networked multiplayer video games that connect users worldwide. I walked everywhere as a young person. I was constantly going, running, doing.

Even as a young woman I was always on the go and rarely sat still. If we wanted to communicate with somebody, we had to go and physically find them. There were no cell phones. No Twitter. No Facebook. No texting. And, even as a young woman, even though we were clubbing all the time, that also included dancing all the time, and anybody that watches Dancing with the Stars knows how dancing can shape your body beautifully and easily knock off the pounds.

I know my blogging keeps me from the treadmill. {And from my housework.} And as a food blogger, that's already a double-whammy. I know that hitting age 5-0 hasn't helped, and based on the extra pounds on my hips, I need to correct this. But being one who quite literally was not born with the desire to exercise like some folks, and in fact, hates, yes that is HATES, deliberate exercise, it's so much more fun to be on here with y'all than on any treadmill.

So I did what any reasonable southern Mississippi woman would do when somebody calls us fat.

I grabbed The Hubs and our fat a$$e$ and we made our way to Outback Steakhouse last night, where we finally spent one of our Christmas gift cards on a meal that was fit for very large king and queen. And we enjoyed every single bite.

Maybe I'll even make it to the treadmill today.


  1. this post was well written my friend!!! I hate when they label certain places fatter or whatever...but the fact remains that there are reasons when a population suffers the same thing...
    I am glad to hear that you enjoyed your day...none the less

  2. Excellent response to this survey. I appreciate how you point out the real issues and causes of the problem of obesity. Very good and valid points, Mary!

  3. Well said Mary :) I find myself KNOWING I should get off the computer and just move all the time...and so true about when "I was a kid"...same thing! We were always outside! Ah, time to re-evaluate :/

  4. I'm with you Mary!

    My job is a desk job, then I come home to the computer (I have 3 blogs, 1 is a daily update, food blog 4-5 times per week) so LOTS of time spent there, then my hobby is riding on the back of my hub's harley! (sitting again) and reading cookbooks! Can't figure out why I'm gaining all the weight?!!

  5. Nicely put Mary. I found out our state is about 22%, and I'm curious to know the breakdown by age. We live in a very busy state. It's very family oriented, but it seems that every single child is doing a dozen after school activities, so the family often grabs take-out while they're running between activities. and then there's the families that just let their kids play video games all day. . .

    Good luck getting on the treadmill today :) I'd rather read your blog posts than work out thank you very much!

  6. Honey, first of all, we Southerners are not fat, nor even fluffy, we are SOLID. I did my time as a skinny gal and I can tell you, I feel better NOW.

    I'm quite insulted that Texas did not beat Mississippi and Alabama. We like to be first in everything. In fact, I am saying that fat-survey was RIGGED and if they had seen me, Texas would have won Fattest State hands-down.


    Your "rebuttal" (in my case, we spell it RealBigButtal) was EXCELLENT, dearie.

  7. Ever since we have had this site, I have spent increasing hours at my computer, and correspondingly less hours on anything remotely resembling exercise. I do walk 45 minutes per (most) days, but housework and similar unnecessary tasks are completely not happening. And I like food! I like your recipes! And I'm happy for you that you had a lovely meal and you didn't have to do the dishes.

  8. Everyone should know that every single headline is to sell papers. And then the journalists somehow convince themselves that they are simply reporting what "the people have every right to know". What a bunch of poppycock.

  9. Thanks everybody. Journalism these days has just gone to pot - I get so ticked every year when I hear this about Mississippi! Obesity is a problem nationwide in every state - let's talk about real solutions for a change and quit pointing fingers.


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