In an announcement that should surprise no one who mingles with the general public, Missouri has been classified by the Center for Disease Control
as one of the heaviest states in the nation.
No, don't clap, Shamu. This is bad news.
Missouri finished in the top twelve of the heavy-weight states, with 30.3 percent of the population qualifying as obese. Mississippi finished first, with 34.9 percent of its population in the obese category. None of the 50 states in the union had a percentage lower than 20 percent, which means Americans on the whole continue to pack on the pounds.
The CDC used new methodology to gather the data this year, which makes comparisons to previous years' data impossible. Information for the study was collected via phone survey, with cell-phone only homes being included in the polling for the first time in history. In theory, this should give the CDC a more accurate picture of the country's weight, since a broader base of the population was included (no pun intended).
We can glean some interesting comparison's from the study, however. The southern U.S. led the league in obesity, with 29.5 percent of the population self-reporting as obese. The midwest was second, incidentally, with 29.0 percent. The western U.S. is the sveltest of all, but even 24.3 percent of the healthy end of the country is overweight. And that's the recurring theme of the study. More than a third of American adults (35.7 percent) are overweight. Health care costs associated with problems caused by obesity (heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes) were estimated at $147 billion for 2008. Medical costs for third-party payers were $1,429 higher for overweight people than for those of normal weight.
We (Americans) need to start dropping the pounds. The only people we're hurting are ourselves, and as the past few years have shown, the idea of being "too big to fail" is a myth.