It's the time of the year when the
CDC (Centers for Disease Control) releases data about how fat we are
as a nation. I always like to bring this up when the data is
mentioned because I truly believe that if we could all lose weight,
we'd all feel healthier and get along better.
And if the latest numbers are to be
believed (I've never been asked my weight; how about you?),
Tennessee is finally doing its part to help us be a healthier nation.
After years of being in the top five of
fattest states, this year Tennessee fell into a 15th place tie with
Virginia, with each state having 29.2 percent of its residents being
officially obese. Obese is the size where you've gotten so big,
people can't bring themselves to look at you when you're having a
If I'm recalling the numbers right,
the worst Tennessee ranked was in the top three with an obesity rate
of around 31 percent. Yeah, a two percent drop might not seem like
much, but at least it's a drop. The number had been going up for
For the record, the fattest state is
Mississippi, with 34.9 percent of its citizens considered obese.
Colorado is the least fat at 20.7 percent. A few years ago, the top
number was 30 percent and the bottom was 17 percent. So, yeah, from
that viewpoint, things do seem to be getting worse.
So, how did Tennessee manage to lose
enough weight to fall outside of the top 10? I guess it depends on
how they survey people's weight. Like I said above, I've never
been surveyed. Does that mean they ask the same people every year, or
it's just a random sample and they've never gotten to me?
If it's the same people, did they all
just go on a diet? If it's random, did they finally call up a bunch
of skinny people? Do they survey doctors about their patients? Can
doctors let out that kind of information? Did they get a hold of a
bunch of 375 pounders who said, "No, seriously. I weigh 175?"
Well, here's what the CDC said about
their info gathering system: "CDC has modernized the methodology
for BRFSS this year, setting a new baseline for comparisons.
The updated approach, incorporating cell phones and using an
iterative proportional fitting data weighting method, means rates are
even more reflective of each states' population, but that the rates
were determined in a different way than in the past, making direct
change comparisons difficult. The full data set can be found
If you can figure that out, please drop
me a line. All I got out of it was they basically called people on
their cell phones.
I also got the idea they changed their
method entirely meaning you can't compare this year's numbers to
previous ones. So, does this mean Tennessee was never as fat as
thought, or they're just saying there's brown, then there's
Interestingly enough, there were no
excuses given why we're so fat, at least not in the report I saw.
There was also no reference to the south being enormously fat (seven
of the top 10 states were southern).
This has been a staple of these reports
in the past: "Those beastly monsters in the south are dragging down
the rest of us!" Colorado and Massachusetts groaned. "We only
weigh 325 compared to their 375! Can't they just go ahead and
The best part about this report being
released every year is when television news picks it up and runs
video of enormously fat people from the chest down. I've always
pictured somebody sitting in a chair, watching the news, munching a
triple cheeseburger and saying, "Hey, you know what? I got some
pants like that."
I know, enough of that. We've all got
our problems. I, for instance, had to go up a pant size after the
stupid manufacturers switched the labels in the 32 and 33-inch
waists. That's the only reason I can think of that I can button one
size and not the other.
But stop dwelling on the bad. The good
news is Tennessee is no longer one of the top 10 fattest states! We
should celebrate with a pizza.
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