The results of an adult obesity study conducted by the Trust For Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that states historically viewed as having the highest proportion of Fundamentalist Christian groups and Conservative Republicans ( read- The South) are once again putting the highest burden on healthcare while simultaneously most actively fighting healthcare reform. Since Barack Obama assumed the Presidency the number of states where the population is the fattest-over 30% listed as obese- has doubled from four to eight. These are Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma*, Tennessee and West Virginia. The assumption for the rise in tonnage is suspected to be due to stress eating since President Barack Obama’s election.
The report, while not actually taking into account the political or religious leanings of the new tubbies (I just made that up to tie the whole Conservative gag together), does cite several other socio-economic factors. Obesity rates are associated with lower incomes and less education- 33.6% who didn’t attend college were obese, compared to 22% of smart people. Nearly 28 % of high school students were either overweight or obese.
Surprisingly (or perhaps not), African Americans and Latinos are fatter than White Folk in at least forty states and the District of Columbia. Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH, said that, “millions of Americans still face barriers — like the high cost of healthy foods and lack of access to safe places to be physically active — that make healthy choices challenging.” And while a large portion of this rise in flabbiness can explained away by ads by McDonalds specifically targeting Minorities with cheap Big Macs, it’s the “safe places to be physically active” part that may be the biggest factor.
In addition to the traditional causes of danger such as street gangs and White Supremacists, Blacks and Latinos now have to also worry about openly armed Tea Party Patriots jazzed on Starbucks caffeine roaming around the streets. Things like this tend to keep targets…uh, lower class citizens of color…hunkered down in their homes munching on a family sized bucket of KFC’s extra crispy with mashed potato and macaroni and cheese sides, rather than risk a brisk walk around the block.
As with all such studies however, there are some interesting anomalies. The overwhelmingly Mormon state of Utah reports the lowest percentage of kids engaging in physical activity, while North Carolina reports a high of 38.5%…or maybe the guy writing the article I plagiarized for this one, Bill Hendrick of WebMD, fucked up what he was trying to say and meant kids in North Carolina weren’t as active as LDS children, which would make more sense; after all Utah is a stunningly beautiful state with lots of skiing and hiking and shit, while North Carolina is, well, North Carolina, filled with retirees and bursting with pig farms with tens of millions of gallons of liquid pig-waste stored in big shit ponds. Other than that of course, it’s great.
At any rate, several facts are clear: it’s these states that, due to obesity-related maladies such as Type-II diabetes and hypertension, represent the largest burden on America’s healthcare system; As well, they are also traditionally viewed as overwhelmingly Republican, Conservative and Fundamentalist Christian. Also, they were all part of the Confederacy with exception of West Virginia (*and Oklahoma, which wasn’t yet a state at the time, but was pro-Slavery…um, I mean States Rights). And finally, their President is a Black man.
Now, I’m not saying there’s a correlation here (oh, who am I kidding…of course I’m saying that; I just don’t care if I’m right about it.), but when viewed as a whole, the picture is interesting. I just wish this article was as interesting as the picture, but as long as I’ve fooled the Google logarithm and got it posted as “news”, my job is done.
For more information on this topic, read my new book, ‘Why Red Necks Are Fat And Other Stories Of The New Revolution’, which will be available as soon as I get around to writing it and find a publisher insane enough to pay me for it.
(Author’s Note: If you’ve read this all the way to this point, you really need to get out more and exercise)