Wednesday, August 24, 2005

America's big fat problem

A new study by a group of public health advocates has confirmed their deepest fears -- Americans are eating food:

Mississippi is the nation's most overweight state, Colorado is the least, and the Southeastern states generally have more heft than the rest of the country, according to a report released yesterday by a public health advocacy group.

Obesity rates have continued to rise steadily across the nation, with the lone exception of Oregon, where they remained steady, the report by the group, the Trust for America's Health, said.

State and federal policies have done little to change that trend, the report said.

About 24.5 percent of American adults are obese, the report said, and in 12 states more than a quarter of all adults are obese, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and South Carolina.

24.5%? Outrageous! Why, there ought to be a law:

"We have a crisis of poor nutrition and physical inactivity in the U.S. and it's time we dealt with it," said Shelley A. Hearne, executive director of the trust. But lawmakers, she said, have reached a "state of policy paralysis in regards to obesity."

How appalling that legislators would just sit by while "Big Carb" manipulates the minds of our children.

Surveys by the federal agency show that there has been a sharp increase in obesity in the United States over the last 20 years. In 1985, not a single state had more than 20 percent of its residents considered obese. Now more than 40 states do.

What they are failing to mention is that the standards for obesity were changed by the National Institutes of Health in 1998. Using Body Mass Index (BMI) as a guideline, an arbitrary number was picked and -- SHAZAM! -- millions more people became "obese" virtually overnight.

Not until the very last paragraph do we find out who funded the study:

The study was in part paid for by a grant from the Dr. Robert C. Atkins Foundation, which was founded by the family of the late author of the Atkins Diet. But Laura Segal, a spokeswoman for the trust, said the foundation was separate from the company, supported research on preventing childhood obesity and had put no pressure on the trust to endorse Dr. Atkins's ideas, which attributed obesity to carbohydrates.

Hmmmmm... I'm not so convinced. Let me grab a blueberry muffin and mull this thing over....