It's an odd country we live in. One-fourth of the population has read a book in the past year. You wonder what they must be doing - perhaps outside, enjoying life? Not if they're the same nearly 0ne-fourth of the American population who are obese (roughly 22% in toto). They must be like the renaissance oligarchs, sitting at their feasting tables, rich, and listless, correct? No, they are the poor, the underprivileged - living in tough areas where even the inanimate fruits and vegetables are hard pressed to roam the streets in carts, and the cheapest available resources are provided by the local chicken fry or McDonald's, which apparently are impervious to gang violence or drug dealers (they need to get their food fixes somehow).
The government laments this growing trend of growing waistlines, and yet their words are ghostly letters that seem to curl away in the smoke signals of public interest. If they were so concerned with public health and nutrition, why don't they regulate school lunches better? Children are not free in school to do anything they want, and in fact the Roberts court has restricted their rights even more while students are on school grounds in the past year. Why not simply restriction their food choices? If they want a cafeteria lunch - provide only healthy options. But unfortunately, as the nation's well-marketed fast foods and highly preservative-laden and saturated fat-engorged foods have increased in popularity, it seems school cafeterias don't want to be "left behind." (unfortunately this is the only, and completely incorrect area in which schools are forging ahead as leaders). Many applaud the banning of sodas in school, but let's face it- soft drink companies were ready with an equally sugary line of fruit juices and energy drinks to help supplement their colas and root beers.
America as a whole is one of the fattest nations - but it's also one of the richest, which doesn't make much sense given the notion that the poorest have the worst rates of obesity. People complain about welfare, paying for the poorest people's care, etc. Well, the larger people get, the more health problems they have a tendency to develop. We live in a strange country, were the richest starve on purpose, and the poorest swell to unwieldy proportions.
Not to get too political, but the states themselves show their inherent differences through this study. Studied side by side, the states with the highest obesity rates tended to be southern, (ten out of the fifteen highest rates in general, eight out of ten highest states for childhood obesity were also in the south). And they also tended to be republican, and with a higher population of poor Americans, and have lower educational standards compared to the bulk of the nation. States like Colorado and Massachusetts, better known for an active lifestyle and better educational systems, tended to have lower obesity rates, and this should be no surprise. If we want to save lives, and not to mention money and taxes, (does that peak your interest, republicans?) then we need to come up with a plan of action to lower obesity rates. Because the fat that lodges itself in the visceral area of the nation is also clogging up the political arteries that lead to a healthy country, and sooner or later, we're going to be looking at cardiac trouble. Let's have a change of heart now, before it's too late, and the donor list looks less than promising.
Study/State by State Reports: