The Centers for Disease Control recently released statistics that showed the level of obesity in each of the states. The data was gathered from a national sample of individuals in each state who provided their height and weight. From that information, each person’s body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Those with a BMI over 30 were considered to be obese. Then, the percentage of each state’s population that was obese was determined. As might be expected, states like Colorado and Hawaii, where people actually exercise outside occasionally, scored well.

brfss self reported obesity 2011

On the other hand, states in the Deep South, where, for 9 months per year, the temperature exceeds 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity, tend to have the highest percentage of obese people. Down here, where fried food is king (I never even heard of deep fried turkey until we moved here), obesity rates are much higher. The states that had a rate of 30% or more are concentrated in this region, to a great extent: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.

We go to Canada occasionally. It’s pretty easy to spot who are the individuals from here, and who are the Canadians. When we need directions, we just ask a skinny person; I don’t think we’ve ever accidentally queried an American. It would probably be better overall if the rates of obesity were reduced here. But it’s a choice that people make for themselves. People should do things that they like to do. A basic principle of utilitarianism is that people seek to maximize their pleasure and minimize their pain. So, if you are happier sitting around on a couch watching television and eating gumbo and friend chicken, than you would be sweating like a pig and eating romaine lettuce, and you know you’ll likely die a couple of years earlier, feel free. For people in the western states, all I have to say is tell us how to live when you learn how to make a good roux.