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Local lifestyle columnists

Fat chance we’ll change this statistic

By From page A2 | February 17, 2013

Breaking news: Americans are so fat, we should each have our own area code!

That’s the takeaway from a report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which predicted recently that all 50 states will have obesity rates above 44 percent by the year 2030.

Fat chance? Fat chance!

Today, the average American woman weighs 160 pounds and the average man weighs 196 pounds. But I suspect that in 17 years – the end date referenced in the report – we’ll come up with a way to make it seem less. Perhaps by changing to the metric system. (“Not bad. I only weigh 88 kilograms!” or “Well, I only weigh 13.5 stones, so that’s not bad!”)

The study’s definition of “obesity” is those having a Body Mass Index of 30 or more. The BMI formula requires you to divide your weight in pounds by the square of your height in inches and then multiply that by 703. Or simply go to an online calculator and have it do it for you.

Sure, that’s the study’s definition of obesity, but a simpler definition is someone whose cereal bowl comes with a lifeguard. Hey! (Rimshot!)

Talk about being overweight! Americans will soon be so heavy that when we break our legs, gravy will pour out. I’m tellin’ ya! (Rimshot!)

The fattening of America is bad news for everyone but drug companies. Heavier people mean more heart disease, more diabetes and more broken lawn furniture. Our quality of life is damaged by the quantity of food we eat.

And it’s not shared equally.

The news is worst for the states we most often associate with being heavy: Those in the South – Mississippi (No. 1 in obesity, No. 2 in domestic violence and No. 50 in education!), Tennessee, Oklahoma, West Virginia and South Carolina, as well as Delaware (state motto: “Supersize me!”).

Here’s how bad it is: Your typical Mississippi resident has so many double chins that when he looks at you, he appears to be looking over a pile of pancakes. (Rimshot!)

And that’s now! Just wait until 2030, when it will be worse. We’ll be so fat that when we go to a restaurant, we won’t want a tab, we’ll want an estimate. I’m tellin’ ya! (Rimshot!)

California, by the way, comes off OK in the report – if going from 24 percent obese to 47 percent obese can be “OK.”

The increasing weight of Americans is a recent trend. According to studies done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, our obesity rate was fairly stable (around 15 percent of the population was considered obese) during the 1960s and 1970s, perhaps because of the volume of black coffee, liquor and cigarettes we consumed, if “Mad Men” is any indication.

Obesity increased in the 1980s and ’90s – fueled by the invention of parachute pants and popularity of sweatpants, which disguised our weight. It then went from 32 percent of the population to 36 percent during the first decade of the 21st century.

If the study is true, the end is nowhere in sight.

But here’s the good news. If we keep growing, we can jog around each other for exercise. That’s how big we’ll be. I’m tellin’ ya. (Rimshot!)

Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope is a former Daily Republic editor. He began his career at the DR in the last millennium. He spent 24 years as a sports editor, associate editor and news editor before leaving the Daily Republic in 2014. Brad lives in Suisun City with his wife, Mrs. Brad, and two sons. He enjoys cheese.

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