I’m sure you heard it on the news last night, then again this morning. The talking heads couldn’t wait to malign my state over and over for having the fattest people in the country. Makes them feel good about their states, I guess.
Seems Mississippi is always at the bottom of the good lists and the top of the bad ones. I’ll still prefer our cornbread and black eyed peas to the trendy, skinny sushi any day. And I wouldn’t live any where else on the planet. Someday, someone is going to feature Mississippi for it’s GOOD things.
But we Southerners need to fry less, and broil more. Having said that I admit I fried up a batch of green tomatoes Sunday night and ate them until I was sick.
And, yes, for the fifth year in a row, Mississippi had the highest rate of adult obesity at 32.5% in a study by the Trust for America’s Health and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
It found that four states now have rates above 30%, including Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee. Eight of the 10 states with the highest percentage of obese adults are in the South.
Colorado continued to have the lowest percentage of obese adults at 18.9%.
The study also shows that adult obesity rates increased in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state in the past year. So, who can we blame this on?
Cheap, tasty, high calorie, high carbohydrate, high sugar, over salted, fat laden food for starters. It is available everywhere 24 hours a day. You don’t even have to get out of your car to get your feast. And the majority of Americans assume food availability equals healthy food. Hence, we encounter new phenomena such as the obese teens who sued McDonald’s because they thought a steady diet of McDonald’s was healthy.
Oh pul-lese. What’s this national malady of always looking for someone to blame besides ourselves. We all had health and nutrition in grammar school. And I resent the idea that we are stupid in the south. I know plenty of highly educated professors who are Weight Watcher’s drop-outs. There are many reasons people become obese – lack of motivation or inability to exercise – they will correct the problem when the time is right or they will die trying.
Perhaps the answer lies in allowing everyone the right to choose their path, be it the ride down the river of denial or the jogging track to health. We should respect their reasons, be they right or wrong. Maybe we all need to pay attention to our own journey, and wish our fellow travelers well no matter what their chosen road. We can never know all the reasons someone else stumbles or fails. We can only offer compassion, and our hand to help, if they ask.
For myself, I try to eat healthy six days a week, but Katy, bar the door on Sunday – anything goes. And it usually involves mashed potatoes and gravy and something fried. I just serve it on a salad plate and hope there are no leftovers.