The United States of Obesity
By George Anderson
Don Imus, the cantankerous and turkey-necked host of the popular syndicated radio program (simulcast on MSNBC), Imus In The Morning, has been known over the years for remarking on the weight of guests and people in the news with observations that they are “a fat bastard” or with a recommendation that they spend more time at the salad bar.
Turns out Mr. Imus, who operates the nonprofit Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer in Ribera, New Mexico (see “Introduction to the Imus Ranch“) along with his wife, vegetarian cookbook author and actress Deidre Imus, might be right. Many Americans should reconsider what they’re eating or at least how much of it they’re swallowing down.
A new study released yesterday by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America, 2005, says that American consumers are overweight and becoming more so. Every state with the exception Oregon saw its number of overweight adults go up. Oregon’s figure was unchanged at 21 percent.
According to a press release from the group, “Approximately 119 million Americans, or 64.5 percent, of adult Americans are either overweight or obese. Estimates of the number of obese American adults rose from 23.7 percent in 2003 to 24.5 percent in 2004.”
“Obesity is a gateway to heart disease, diabetes and a host of other diseases,” said Parris Glendening, former two-term Governor of Maryland, president of the Smart Growth Leadership Institute, and co-author of the report in a released statement.
“There is much more that can be done to help people make healthy choices about nutrition and exercise. For instance, decisions about where we build new houses and highways or schools and sidewalks can mean the difference between giving people more or less opportunity to participate in physical activity,” he said.
Moderator’s Comment: In the last year, have you seen evidence of manufacturers and retailers taking more of a lead in reshaping America’s dietary and
exercise habits? Are there companies that serve as a model as an employer or marketing/sales organization for a new approach to better health? –
George Anderson – Moderator