A Nation at the Edge of a Cliff and it is Weighing on Me.

Much talk about blue and red states is in the daily news lately.  You can’t pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV or surf the web without tripping over talk about the elections and the differences between the Democrats and Republicans.  Recently one article on blue and red states caught my attention that had nothing to do with politics.  Intrigued I kept reading.  Then I did some research and plenty of thinking. 


I’m referring to the ongoing trend that the US of A is heading towards in tipping the scales.  Yes I’m talking about a nation that is overweight, out of shape, fat and downright obese.  We are eating ourselves into a national decline.  Toe up to the edge and peer over and one can see the country either falls over the edge or realizes something is seriously out of alignment and then does something about it.


The map here shows the USA in 2007 as the percent of obese population (BMI >30) in US adults per state.  By obese the CDC used BMI measurements.  While BMI isn’t the best method of weight determination it captures the average populace with minor skewing for individuals outside the normal range such as short male power lifters.


Before I continue for anyone who isn’t familiar with BMI the CDC defines it as:

“Body mass index (BMI), expressed as weight/height2 (BMI; kg/m2), is commonly used to classify overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9) and obesity (BMI greater than or equal to 30.0) among adults (age 20 years and over).”

 All the states are looking pretty poor in the CDC rankings.  Even Colorado, my home state, weighed in at 18.7% obese in 2007.  That is almost 1 in every 5 adults!  For a state that has at least 6 REI stores, numerous bike shops, running stores, scuba stores etc. and is blessed with beautiful weather, almost year round, it is hard to believe it isn’t just 8.7%.


Where does your state fit in?  See below.



A new perspective on the subject is needed and a change of life style.  Take the time to read or watch Fast Food Nation and Supersize Me and you won’t want to set foot in a fast food restaurant again let alone eat their food.  But that alone won’t fix this issue. 


How about this simple equation:  E + HE = F 

(Where E is exercise, HE is moderate healthy eating and F is fitness, i.e. not obese but a healthy weight.)


Seems simple no?  You need both the exercise and the moderate healthy eating to make this work.  A person can eat healthy and still lose weight but they won’t be a fit individual.  You can also exercise like crazy but if you eat poorly it won’t matter.  If you burn a few hundred more calories a day than you take in you will lose weight and gain many benefits in exchange.


“Too many calories?  But I only eat 1200 calories a day.”  Yeah right, is that per plate?  That’s why your jeans could be used to sail a Sunfish.  Seriously, unless you are a nutritionist most people don’t have a clue how many calories are part of their daily intake.  Or for that matter what type of foods they should be eating. 

  • See the food pyramid on how to balance your daily intake. 
  • Get a food scale. 
  • Write down everything you eat.
  • Go see a nutritionist*.
  • Get out and move your body

*Make sure they are certified as just about anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.  See: http://www.findanutritionist.com/


Data has been collected for this annual survey since 1985 starting with a few states and adding more each year.  One large observation from the many years is summed up by the CDC:

“There were notable increases in the prevalence of persons who were either overweight or obese (BMI greater than or equal to 25.0) in the last 25 years. Most of this increase was attributable to increases in the obese category (BMI greater than or equal to 30.0), whereas only minor increases occurred in the prevalence of persons who are overweight but not obese (BMI 25.0-29.9).”


Where do we go from here?


Can we turn back the clock to 1994? (The first year all states were included.)


No excuses USA!



No, I am not a nutritionist.  I am an average athlete who has figured out a few things along the way—it’s easier to stay in shape than to get in shape; without physical activity you'll have no energy; you are what you eat; your body is stronger than your mind lets on.  If you are offended by this blog post then too bad.  First examine why you are offended.  What side of the scale are you on?  Oh and I do know that there are some medical conditions that can be the root cause of weight gain; if that is the case go see a Doctor and a nutritionist.  Lastly, the puns were intended.  Thanks for reading.


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About Haliku

Mountain climber, ultrarunner, scuba instructor, world traveler, student of life
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3 Responses to A Nation at the Edge of a Cliff and it is Weighing on Me.

  1. Ultra'thoner says:

    Great post!
    What I found interesting is that people in Wisconsin were so self-critical about themselves: "We're SO fat here!" And yes, there are many obese people there just like everywhere else.
    However, Wisconsin is actually in the middle of the pack when it comes to obesity. The red states are in the south. And it is not only obesity the south must worry about.
    When I was visiting my family in Tennessee last year, I went for a jog. There were piles and piles of cigarette butts on the side of the road. There were so many in fact that I could not take a step without stepping on several of them at a time. In some places it was an inch or more deep. Very sad.

  2. Tim Pruchnic says:

    I enjoyed your post very much, big brother. Your research was enjoyable. This could be a lecture. Are you changing careers? It is unusual for me to see BMI

  3. Pingback: Food Extremes and Obesity in the USA | Haliku's Adventures

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