Jonathan Wolfman's Blog
AUGUST 5, 2010 7:01AM


Rate: 30 Flag

     Roughly ninety-percent of the states whose leaders have toyed recklessly with secession rhetoric or with dopey and doomed legislation that would allow them to nullify acts of Congress, are also the states that routinely take in far, far more in federal taxes than they ever pay in. This is a well-established pattern. When you hear governors and legislators braying about how broken the federal government is, you can be sure the rant you're hearing is from someone whose state would dry up like a pitiful prune, wither and die within half a year, were it not for annual tax money from the rest of us. And a hell of a lot of it. 

     Talk about cash-for clunkers....

     Now comes a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that tells us how, in most of these same  states, tons and tons of vats of fat are winning and winning big over the generous federal programs and subsidies for obesity prevention and general good health.

     Obesity now grips over 30% of Americans in nine states.

          Alabama   Arkansas   Kentucky

          Louisiana   Mississippi   Missouri

          Oklahoma   Tennessee   West Virginia

...with Magnolia Mint Julep Mississippi tipping the scale at 41.9% of its residents obese.


     Washington, DC and Colorado alone have rates under 20%. Their residents evidence healthier food habits (more fruits and vegetables) and they tend more to walk or bike or subway to work more than they drive. So do people in the other states at the lower end of the chart.

     So what's obese?  If you've a body-mass index (BMI) of 30 or above, you're obese. A guy 5' 10" at 209 is obese. A five-four woman at 174 is, too.

 a)  ,     b)     or     c)      ? 

     This means that when you're walking slow and looking back over your shoulder, walking down Highway 49 in the Mississippi Delta, you really may run up against The Devil at The Crossroads where Blues Genius Robert Johnson traded his soul for fame. At the Infamous Intersection, 49 at 61, you may, on lonely, windy nights, still hear Mr. Johnson howling at the Devil and the Devil howling back. You can also get fries with that because a McD's is now smack-dab right there.

     Want frightening?

    Obesity rates in adults in these states have doubled in recent dcades and in kids they've tripled. The costs, nationally, are about $150 billion annually in often avoidable costs of onset diabetes and heart disease, and in incidences of stroke, and cancer. And unsurprisingly, states where there are better high school and college graduation rates also have lower obesity rates.

     Want really frightening?

     Two and a half million more Americans grew obese between '07 and '09, raising the national total to seventy-two-and-a half million. That's just below 27% of our population. Imagine what the figure will be in 2011. And the CDC says these are almost certainly underestimates because men, women, and children typically lie about weight in nationwide phone surveys. (This is the way it's done because of doctor-patient confidentiality and because surveys of doctors about their patients in the aggregate may even be less reliable.)

     I am certain that there are many in every state whose weights are tied to conditions that do, in fact, just happen, do defy healthy habits and are the result of integenerational family plagues. Yet it's also clear-as-a-bell that so much of  this is not, that in a sense, people are increasingly choosing to be fat. If that weren't so, the numbers would be far different. And they're choosing to be fat and adding enormously to your health care burden most often in places that just should not ever dream of throwing stones, verbal or otherwise, at the their national government. They more than dream; their dismissive arrogance toward the rest of us, toward their country, is an approaching nightmare.  


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Tell me, please: if this isn't a crisis, what is?
Thanks, as always, for your take.
You know, I may be the strangest "fat mom" going. The twins, at 17, are 6'1 and 6'4... both weigh less than 190... they play rugby, work out on the suspended obstacle course, play (as do all of my children) Lacrosse and a whole lot of other things. There are ALWAYS healthy snacks around that are easier to get to than the cookie jar (although molasses cookies always seem to get eaten fast). Meals are well-balanced and I have never demanded that my children become members of the clean plate club.

I decided a long time ago that while *I* may be a "fat mom" there is absolutely NO reason that my children had to be "fat kids". I could teach them to make healthy choices and to participate in activities that kept them moving rather than teaching them to be couch potatoes. So far my "plan" is working and my children are all normal, healthy weights.
Jon... I would honestly rather my children be healthy and happy... and teaching them to be couch potatoes is not the path to being healthy.

I may not be able to do a whole heck of a lot about MY weight (AVN in the spine and hips -- have had it since I was 12) BUT I darn sure CAN encourage my children to NOT follow in my footsteps.
Selenic I am with you 100%. I was an overeater, too. After my sister gave me a kidney in '98, I began to wise up, tho I am no crusading reformer: the stats are, tho, arresting. I am, thank Gd, far healthier now. My son's a sequoia.
It's hard to say what a good reponse to your blog is. The static you posted must also include the Salon readers from the states listed and I don't want to offend anyone.

I used to work in a vitamin store back in my late teens. I loved the job and it taught me invaluable lessons about nutrition and the importance of a healthy diet. Since then, checking products for vitamin and nutritional content has become second nature to me.

More recently, I had a job and worked with a majority of women, most of whom were over weight and obese.

They liked to bring in sugary baked goods and have holiday parties that included dishes with a lot of fat, salt, and sugar. I really didn't want to eat these foods, because they no longer appealled to me. So I would find excuses not to attend the parties.

Even though I was polite to them on the job, some of them took this as a sign I didn't want to socialized with them. Needless to say, I was really hurt by this and planned my exit strategy.

Looking back, maybe there were other ways of handling the situation, but this is an example of how a social unit can influence a person's ability to choose proper food.

I like to keep my comments lighthearted, but I feel really passionately about the importance of nutrition and exercise, so I've gotten a little more personal here than I usually would.
Jon: I know obesity seems on the surface that it should be easy to solve: just stop eating so much of the wrong foods. Obesity is a multi-layered issue, with deep psychological, social as well as physiological components to it. Until all of the reasons for obesity are treated, it will continue to get worse. R-
Heather, first, thanks for risking stepping away from comfort to respond so thoughtfully. Second, my purpose, as i think you're aware, isn't to offend. Obesity's a national, not a regional issue and yet it is more of one in those states who receive a ton more $$ in tax dollars for health initiatives ... and yet they rail continually abt the alleged evils of Washington.
Dave yes, it will; and as I say, above, I fully get it that for many obesity is not a matter of 'will power. Thank you.
Bonnie fried butter...o m _ g
glenna ooooooooo share!!! :)
It's a national disgrace, Jon.
B. I empathize w those who struggle; i did for years. What I have no sympathy for is the politicians whose states ignore good sense and take federal money for health and still claim DC is intergereing as they take our money.
KATE great minds..... :) and thanks!
I've been underweight all my life. You can only imagine some of the names I was called during my childhood. I'll not hijack your thread but let's just say I understand the issues involving obesity.

Here's the thing, Jon. Obesity shouldn't be rewarded. What happens when states are given these funds for programs and the people continue to live a seditary lifestyle?
B you are suggesting continued money for these programs be tied to health progress, measurably. A very interesting idea. Thanks!
I guess the real question is: Why are people killing themselves by over-eating?

Depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness, poverty, wealth and over abundance, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual neglect and illness and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

It will take more than restricted calories to solve this. I was fortunate to have read Diet for a Small Planet when I was about twelve or maybe fourteen. It put me on a path of global food consciousness otherwise chances are I'd be overweight like many in my family. That, and I try to walk everyday. See ya, going out for a walk before work ...

You want a crisis?

Fast forward 20 yrs into the future--when the present Gen Ys and Millenials are in their 40s--w/all the end results of their really bad habits. If you think health-care reform is sorely needed now, just wait til then.

Whatever happened to moderation? It took Type 2 diabetes to save my life. At age 41 I was diagnosed, and at 300+ lbs I finally knew why the weight was so hard to lose. I got a new menu of food to eat and learned how to eat, exercise, and LIVE, all over again. I lost 140 lbs--14 yrs ago.

I'm not that special; it CAN be done. Ya just gotta WANTA.
Elsma i think in most cases you're 100% right. Thank you for this perspective.
JW-Another pertinent, well-written post. Thanks for a much needed kick in this XL arse. ;-/
Junk1 :) Keep at it/Most people can win this fight and I very well know it's a fight.
It's a sad state isn't it?
Glad you write this and rated with hugs
Linda I think the arrogant politicians in those states have some interest in maintaining this sad status quo. Thank you.
Think I'll skip breakfast this morning. Thanks, Jon.
Matt fruit? smoked eel? :)
I've discussed with my sister, who is the very model of frugal shopping , the argument that eating healthy costs more. She says yes, but not as much as one might think. For example, she has taught me to watch for specials and coupons and plan for them; the savings really are incredible. But I have a car and time and access to more than one neighborhood, price-gouging supermarket.

Time is the biggest issue and some of that we need to make.
Preparation is another aspect of eating healthy and this is a matter of training. Buy a BIG chicken on Sunday and you have all sorts of possibilities for the week. Of course, there's also the problem of very strong "junk food" lobby in D.C.

If only we could provide more help to people in terms of teaching them to shop and cook, and make junk food less "convenient" and much less attractive, we could make a dent in this problem.
Nikki thanks, and what should be mandatory is an Intelligent, mandatory Home-Ec curruculum for young men and young women a curriculum that goes much further than the old courses did
Very fun and smart presentation, J.

I think this epidemic has a lot to do with the computer, video games, and the fear instilled by 24 hour news cycles that predators are everywhere.

Something must be at the root of such a rise in levels. I went on a few cross country road trips and it no lie that those states have lots of fat folk.
Fernsy you're right people need to take that road trip and we have to somehow urge better public state policy thank you
South Carolina is in that list of states too. And it is frightening. What was that animated kid movie with all the fat people --- Wall-E? Will it come to that? As much as I love Krispy Kreme, I can limit myself to one. And everyone here uses a riding lawnmower for these small plots of land. I use a push one, gas of course. But I still have to use my body to move it. And sometimes I park out in BFE just to walk it. We really need to reduce portions, up our exercise routines, and promote affordable produce and vegetables.

And I would even argue for a more vegetarian lifestyle, but then I am vegetarian. The cost for one piece of steak is staggering. That is a statistic we need to note. But then I run the risk of stepping on the toes of steak eating people who would stab me with their forks if I tried to replace it with polenta or a fresh vegetable quiche.
Sad. Thanks for all this Jon. The only thing is obesity is a many layered disease. There are choices to be made, but addictions which occur, just as with nicotine and other substances. We are asking people to eat healthy, but they are bombarded with advertising regarding foods designed to make them crave more. I believe that people become addicted to sugar, high fructose corn syrup is also an issue. R
@ Matt Paust--

DON'T skip breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day.

Just read up on good nutrition and start planning your meals. Remember: moderation.

To this day, I've given myself every Sat "off" from my regimented eating habits to eat what I want, w/in limits, and I've STILL lost weight. I think age has slowed that down somewhat, so I increased my exercise instead.

And best of all, my diabetes is completely controlled w/out Rx of any kind. A tough thing to do, but I decided long ago that I'd rather spend the $$ on healthier food than Rx.

Is it hard? Yes, every day is a struggle. But after awhile the good eating and exercise become habititual, and some things just go out of your life forever--to be replaced by better habits.

I'm not that special, so it CAN be done. The key is moderation in EVERYthing--just like real life. All of us MUST learn to say "no" to ourselves. Just b/c it's there doesn't mean you HAVE to have it.
Sheila the sugae addiction is, of course real and may, w help be overcome! ty!
Very timely post, Jon. Obesity is a crisis in US. This is based on a number of factors such as (in a nut shell) lack of education, access and mobility. Overweight youth, exposed to thin and svelte celebrities on TV as role models also get a double whammy (pardon the pun) in loss of self-esteem, increasing the crisis to higher and more complicated proportions. ~R~
FusunA you're so right. Thanks!
This is the key: "Roughly $40 billion in federal subsidies are going to pay corn growers, so that corn syrup is able to replace cane sugar. corn syrup has been singled out by many health experts as one of the chief culprits of rising obesity, because corn syrup does not turn off appetite. Since the advent of corn syrup, consumption of all sweeteners has soared, as have people's weights. According to a 2004 study reported in the American journal of Clinical Nutrition, the rise of Type-2 diabetes since 1980 has closely paralleled the increased use of sweeteners, particularly corn syrup."
- There Is a Cure for Diabetes: The Tree of Life 21-Day+ Program by Gabriel Cousens
Sheila what a terrific contribution! Thanks!
Oh, such a touchy subject, my friend! I have never been super skinny nor never considered 'fat'....except through my own harsh lens. My husband is exceedingly active..a hard core jock even at age 67 and thin. We always ate healthily and both my daughters are thin. One is even a physical trainer and danced growing up.
My son, however, is 6'6" and manages even in prison (drug addict) to be fairly corpulent. He has always been tall and a solid, husky guy; a football player. Even at the worst times of his addiction to prescription pain meds he remained overweight, which it totally counter the stereotypical, emaciated addict.

I've observed the dynamic from every perspective including the rapid rise of obesity at large, and I can only surmise that, in addition to the crappy foods offered at cheap prices to appeal to even the less fortunate in society, the crisis is also a deeply psychological one.

Frustration and fear drive us to seek comfort any way we can, and the most readily accessible form is usually in food. Compound that with the additives and poor selections at affordable prices and you've got an epidemic. As the world gets less sympathetic and more hostile, fear rises and comfort becomes more necessary but more difficult to come by relationally. At that point, food rules. I know it is only part of the condition but just one I've witnessed....provocative topic, JW.....
Susan thanks for this complex, sensitive perspective.
The fat's on the fire!! (hmm, fried butter . . . Sounds like something Homer Simpson would go for.)
Pilgrim funny I tht of Homer, too!
Thanks for that list of states, Jonathan. Seems like they're always being showcased on The Food Network.
i know that obesity is a problem and in saying what i'm about to say, i'm not disputing that it's a problem that needs addressing (kudos to the FLOTUS). However, I wonder how realistic is the BMI from a cultural viewpoint. For instance, my son recently had his annual checkup. I was told he was on the "lower end" of being "overweight". He's active as hell. I make sure he eats well (organic, low sugar, very little cow's meat, etc).

But i wonder what is the standard? who's body shape is based on?

aside from that, we - people in general - could be a lot less sedentary. we talk about dependence on oil - free yourself room it by walking or taking public transportation. we don't need congress or obama for that. or do we?
Ladyslipper wow that's right! Thanks!
Tichona nope we don't need Congress for that yet my Q is do we want Congress to subsidize yr-over-year bad habits in places that routinely diss you and me by taking our tax monies while at the same time damning DC?
Jon, it's confession time. Since March 2010 I have shed 32 pounds. Why? Pure vanity. I had a college reunion in June.

Yesterday I went to the doctor to have my blood pressure checked. 108/60 as opposed to 135/90 in May. My cholesteral is similarly way down. The doctor has decided to start weaning me off of my blood pressure meds, which are numerous.

Yes, it did seem more costly to eat fresh fruits and vegetables than to stop at Dairy Queen and Burger King. Yes, it did take more time to chop veggies, dream up ways to prepare lean meats, etc. But when I compare that to the cost of drugs, the cost of a doctor's office visit, the cost of having a stroke, the cost of having a heart attack or treating diabetes --well, it is quite a bargain. PLUS, I feel 20 years younger!

My point is that it's not about whether being fat is something to be ashamed of or not. Judgments aside, we simply cannot afford it.
A great post, Jon!
Also, and it may have been mentioned, a great movie to see on this subject matter is "Super Size Me" by Morgan Spurlock.

If you are not familiar with it, Spurlock goes on something like a thirty day diet of JUST fast food. It's disgusting. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner he eats at McDonald's.

As a viewer, you are ready to vomit by the end of the film.

Spurlock gains so much weight and his cholesterol goes so high that his doctor says he is in imminent danger of a heart attack.

A fun but content-wise revolting movie.


It's a complex issue. The US is a particularly hard place to lose weight - every time I visit, I'm struck by how you MUST have a car to get around, unless you live in New York. Eating healthily takes much more planning than it does elsewhere and you are bombarded with food ads. On top of that, there are lots of other fat people everywhere, and there are plenty of clothes shops catering for fat people, so if you're fat yourself, your own weight doesn't seem so bad. As one commenter pointed out, what are you meant to do if your social life revolves around other people who constantly bring out fatty, sugary foods? All these things combined are lethal, but to undo them would involve some legislation that would make people scream, such as a junk food tax.
Lezlie you're so right. While i didn't deliberately lose wt for my hs 40th last October, I was pleased that I was in the best shape I'd been in since hs. :) TY!
Buddy thanks so much for the recommendation!
Ruth you make numbers of excellent points here. Thank you! The fact that so many here do seem to need or 'need' cars is, yes, a real factor.
In the corporate world of salary increases for bigwigs and downsizing of rosters, there may also be a dark secret regarding the health of America. It is in every major money market pioneer's best interests to keep us disinterested in what might be termed healthy enough.
Much product misrepresentation exists, mainly to the tune of shoppers harnessing paying power to the wrong idea.
Within this context, our wallets weaken as our health care costs have risen and our overall failing health seems marginalized at best to popular thinking.
I cannot pretend I would prefer to have a cheeseburger. That's not how I eat. Yet a weight loss decision I made last year has taken me away from the sugars of the past even more than before. I like eating out as much as the next person, yet hardly do so anymore due to the lack of choices which fit a budget and every health concern.

It's not that easy to stay healthy in America. We of the Land of the Free eat a lot more of the stuff that can cause certain cancers--and we do so unconsciously.
Also, anyone here ever attempted to eat a thoroughly healthy diet on a minimum wage or lower budget? Keka made mention of this in a recent post of hers. Our poor cannot spend well enough at the checkout, even with coupons and special deals, owing to the fact hey must feed enough folks for so little it's embarrassing to sensible Americans to know they have no choice.
In your poorer states mentioned, whom our economy has hit hardest over the last 20 or so years (maybe longer), the kinds of foods responsible for making people feel well enough to get out and exercise, for example, may not be as easy to access as some might feel.
Also, with chemicals such as rBGH and other various hormonal treatments to dairy cattle and any other less costly non-organically (and thus less on the healthy side) processed animal products for diet, no one's safe from everlasting effects of any toxicity engendered thru ingestion.
This is a very complicated issue. You may want to rethink this in series form.
Rated for starting this interesting discussion
I really wish people would making excuses for their bad eating habits. What's worse is when we play into the blame game. It's so easy to blame somebody else when the real culprit I think is that most people are living a sedentary lifestyle, they don't exercise common sense, they've become compulsive eaters, and while many claim I'm too tired, etc., they'll decry I'm an insensitive a-hole when I try to help them.

My eldest daughter and her hubby do this. They're both relatively intelligent I think and yet they choose to eat processed foods when they know damn well it's garbage. What really pisses me off is that they read labels, they know it's bad to eat out at fast food joints, fill their tummies with conveniently prepared processed snacks and foods in containers that take a flash to microwave, and my concern is not only for their health but that of my 18-mo grandson. What can a granny do? I can't beat them over their heads with a mop stick now can I? ;)
Jonathan...this is such an important post and such a vital (literally) issue! Even the comments are enlightening and inspiring. The issue of being and becoming obese is endlessly complicated...onionlike and layered as others have noted. It is a crisis, and one that effects us all in some way or another...There is no way I can adequately thank you for this piece, my friend. xo r
I wouldn't be so quick to relate individual behavior in these states with their governments' attitudes toward the Federal Government. I think these phenomena are more independent of each other than you give them credit for being.
Ticonda is spot on about how differences in body shape for different ethnicities is not being properly considered in these height/weight indices. On the down side, these standards are used for things like health insurance, so they can be perhaps unintentionally discrimminatory.

On the up side, these conservative standards might offer at least some help in keeping the obesity problem in check (if that's even possible at this point). If the numbers were scaled up to accomodate body type differences, it would just give a lot more people an excuse to be heavier. In the end, I think keeping the numbers where they are is a net positive...erring on the side of caution and all.

Take me for example, a 39 yr/old overweight black woman (less so today). When I started a workout program at the gym a few months ago, my BMI was at 29.1. Even then, I don't think anyone who saw me would have thought I was obese, but according to the numbers I was knocking on that door. One of the things that has motivated me to keep working out and eating right since then was the fear of being so close to that number.

If you know you are healthy and fit, like my husband who is 6'5" and whose weight is no where near where the charts say it should be, then don't worry about the numbers. Just keep doing what you're doing.

Jonathan, thanks for a great post. Rated.
KOSH I'm stressing/correlating the facts that these are states that routinely have the MOST obese people AND routinely rail against DC WHILE thay take in more federal health care dollars AND pay lots less in taxes.
PW I'm grateful for your complex, nuanced response.
B. Nope! The stick won't work!! People must come to this largely on their own.
MUSE You're so welcome!
Bluestocking thanks a lot for this and yes these gauges can be but are not necessarily helpful and accurate.
Jonathan, I won't say publicly what I want Congress to do except it involves Seppuku.
Can we look forward to a series? I'd like to see if we all could take this a little further.
TICH hehehe it may be too good for some of them
PW sure spread the word!
Jon, thank you for being brave enough to present this. There may be many, many reasons behind the behaviors that lead to obesity, but I can't see how it is helpful to use these reasons to divert attention away from the fact that this country has what seems a health crisis with obesity.

I have traveled a fair bit and I know that Americans do not have a monopoly on depression, trauma, psychological challenges, and yet Americans do weigh in heavily on the side of obesity! Amazingly so. I cannot stress the shocking difference in population profile (literally) between Americans and say, the rest of the world.
So even if all these powerful behind-the-scene personal forces are at play in driving a person to overeat, wouldn't it be more pertinent to ask why the American mode of expressing pain trends toward overeating? (I would hazard a guess that Russians drink).

I just have to look at diner serving portions, grocery stock items, take a look at what's in the majority of shopping carts, how much education there is about food, nutrition, and what are the typical ideas of a healthy meal in America? What are kids fed in school? How normal and part of the daily diet is soda? What are the attitudes toward eating, exercising, lifestyle that form the acceptable baseline here?

Lest anyway misunderstand me, let me clarify that I am addressing the trends in lifestyle that are conducive to obesity. I am not condemning obese people for these trends... obesity is one symptom. I know of a woman who put on weight eating a healthy diet rich with vegetables and fruit - she needed to correct a dysfunction in her system before she was able to lose weight, which she eventually did.
Moving toward health in body and spirit is a good thing...

My father's family in Singapore (Asia) will consider me fat, while most Americans would consider me very small. And even within my own lifetime I have seen those definitions in Singapore change along with the Americanizing of their diet.

I think America is facing an obesity health crisis and if we can't even voice that I don't know how it's going to get remedied.
Statistically, obesity has a high link to poverty, and the nine states you mention are among the nation's poorest. I've always felt that a campaign against obesity is doomed to failure without a campaign against poverty (healthy food choices are generally more expensive than fast-food or highly processed food).

Also, those states are among the warmest, an unfortunate deterrent against much physical activity.
ot so long ago, one of our OS members was kind enough to publish the just eat half diet: Eat 1/2 breakfast and the rest for lunch etc.

It started to get my weight down, but not soon enough. High blood sugars caused me to be diagnosed as predisposed to diabetes.

Adequate medical advice can be a major drawback to expats, but I was lucky to find the works of Dr. Richard Bernstein on the net. A scientist and lifelong diabetic, he entered medical school to approach the disease from a medical perspective.

Low carb, high protein diet, and in two consecutive months, I've reduced my blood sugars by 50%. Joined a health club for an hour of anaerobic cardiocascular supervised 5 days a week workouts, like he recommended and lost 2 KG this week.

The book (with a forty year return policy), a forum of followers, and a once a month live webcast to answer questions from the 70 year old doctor.

RJ Thanks so much!
MARKINJAPAN Thank you; I'll get to reading it
CRANK We absolutely need to kill the Reagan ideas that soured America on anti-poverty programs. At the very least.
MARIA When I lived in China I understood for the first time why American TV adverts showing meal portions were as obscene as they are.
I've read articles and journals from scientific studies and a myriad of reputable sources, some of which are private entities, while others are government affiliates.

The bottom line is this: when do we, as individuals or an entire society/unit, take charge of our own lives and livelihood? When do we accept responsibility for our own actions? When?!

2/3 of our nation's children [minors] are obese. That includes ALL of our states and ALL of our children. Of ALL of these children, the facts are that impoverished and undereducated are the first in line when it comes to tying the feedbag on at school cafeterias, and they're also the same groups receiving freebies DHS offers ALL states, with the assistance of the USDA, per federal guidelines.
Who do you suppose goes to fat camps? Hint. It ain't the poor and it ain't the uneducated.
How many bariatric [lap band procedures and the like] surgeries have been performed last year/decade? I dunno, but I'd be willing to bet that the patients are not poor people; it's more likely that they lack self-discipline or they're emotional [obsessive compulsive disorders] eaters who use food as a crutch to buffer their stressors.
How many bariatric [lap band procedures and the like] surgeries have been performed last year/decade? I dunno, but I'd be willing to bet that the patients are not poor people; it's more likely that they lack self-discipline or they're emotional [obsessive compulsive disorders] eaters who use food as a crutch to buffer their stressors.
Your opening comments about those that complain about accepting federal money are right, I’m sure it is also true that many of the high profile complaints about “Big Government” only come up on the few occassions when big government stands up to big bussiness in favor of the public not when “Big Government” protects the right of big bussiness to make money at the expense of the majority. This includes of course fattening foods and diet programs.

Eat less exercise more and most important of all always remember the goal of advertisers is to get your money. Most exercise equipment and diet programs are designed to make money for them without adressing the problem. Physical education programs and healthy food programs that edcuated children are designed to solve the problem with a minimum of expense therefore they’ve been cutting those back. OY