Monday, July 16, 2007

LARD: Connecticut's Obesity Problem

It’s summertime, and we all know why we go to the beach; get a little sun, swim in the surf, probably have a few drinks. We all know what we see when we get to the beach: Squealing children, back hair, men in tight bathing suits showing off too much of too little, and of course… fat people.

There are incredibly over-sized people everywhere, immodestly displaying the skin that covers the sizable portions of their girth. These people can be counted on to bring their overweight children to the beach with them, engage in no physical activity while there, apart from that involved in carrying massive amounts of junk food to consume while there.

On a recent trip to a beach, I witnessed one young woman who was so heavy she had about three feet of the fabric from her bikini bottoms jammed up her crack. It appeared that the bottoms had the word “LARD” scrawled across them. Appropriate, I thought. Then she bent over to grab a bag of Fritos, and it became obvious that the bottoms actually read “LIFEGUARD.” Nothing brings into focus the epidemic of obesity like a visit to the beach.

Obesity has been on a steady incline in Connecticut, like in most of the rest of the country, since the 1990’s. It is estimated that 37% of state residents are overweight, and 18% are obese. About 48% are reported to engage in almost no physical activity. In 1985, less than 10% of Connecticut’s population was considered obese.

According to the Connecticut Hospital Association, Connecticut is ranked with the fifth lowest prevalence of obesity in the nation. However, the increase of obesity from 1993-2002 of 64% outpaced the national average. This creates obvious health issues. Along with increased obesity comes increased cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease, and congestive heart failure. This puts a giant strain on the healthcare industry. It is estimated that 9% of all healthcare spending is associated with obesity-related expenses.

The CT state legislature has, like other state legislatures, attempted to tackle the problem with bills that ban soda and snack sales in school. These are band-aids. The real root of the problem is at home. When obese parents who were never taught about nutrition and exercise pass on these habits to their children, you have an epidemic that perpetuates itself.

The state needs to educate parents and children in this area, or the obesity rate will continue to grow, and spill over like a flabby gut out of tight jeans into the next generation.


kevintracy said...

Amen! I'm a big guy myself, but I'm tall so I can get away with it more than the short big people.

The "LARD" comment got a good laugh! Thanks!

Robert said...

There are issues of marketing and food manufacturing as well but for the most part I agree. It's parents who need to step up on this. Granted not every kid or adult is fat because they eat too much Mcdonalds and watch tv all day. Some have genetic and health problems that contribute. Some have injuries. But the vast majority need to stop at 1 cheeseburger and go out and play some volleyball or something.

Judy Aron said...

There are lots of additives and preservatives that make you fat and I would also stay far away from anything that says low calorie or fat free because they are designed to include those things.
A balanced diet and lots of exercise is the key. Americans get neither apparently.
A great website is junkfood science

Clint said...


This is a very heavy issue.
Thanks for weighing in...


Headless Horseman said...

It's true, there are many things that help to socially contribute to this many overweight people.

I do have trouble buying the genetics argument, or those who say no matter what they tried, they just can't lose weight.

How many times have you seen footage of a concentration camp liberation where everyone is marched out, and they all look skeletal except for one fat guy who shrugs his shoulders and says "hey... they didn't feed me for five months... but I just couldn't shed the weight."

There may be people who have conditions that help get them that way, but ultimately it's a simple calorie intake versus output ratio.

mccommas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mccommas said...

I know people that have struggled with their weight their entire lives.

Part of it is overindulgence but for other people being heavy is just where their bodies naturally are supposed to be.

I am thankful my body is naturally thin just like my mother.

Hunger is a hard thing to control. I know when I am hungry I have to eat.

You should spare a little sympathy for these folks. They know they have a problem. We don’t have to unkindly remind them of it. I find that if I wait a little bit and let my food expand in my stomach I feel much less urge for a second helping.

I think the best thing for folks to do is understand what a portion is and to walk off meals afterwards.

Also people need to get rid of this notion that not finishing a meal is a bad thing. When you are full throw push your plate away and throw what you didn’t eat in the trash. It’s better in the garbage than around your middle.

I try to walk to get rid of my flab in the middle. I walk out by the damn here in Windham. It sounds so lame but walking is the best exercise there is.

Once it becomes a habit, you miss it when you skip it.

Headless Horseman said...

That's true. I am a runner, and once you have adopted something healthy into your habit pattern, you are off when you don't do it. If I don't run I will get crabby.

I have sympathy for people struggling with weight issues, but it is limited. No one gets there over night. It is a series of neglectful and ignorant behaviors that land you there.

That said, when I am at the gym, I do not laugh at overweight people I applaud them for trying to do something positive. Unfortunately, many of them give up quickly for lack of discipline or lack of proper instruction on how to maximize the benefits of a workout for their particular needs. We shoud all encourage positive behavior changes.

Rainbow Starbright said...

I think you should think of the girl with the asscrack full of "IFEGU" as highly evolved for aquatic activity. With her abdominal omentum hanging down she is more boyant than a life raft. Her hamhock legs are one or two mutations away from being completely vestigial. She is well on her way to being handfed herring at SeaWorld.
ps: Knowing you, I thought she would be eating fronions.

Dr.Ronald Wills said...

Obesity is certainly a growing problem. Over the last 20 years, obesity in adults has rocketed with more than 60% in men and 50% in women. And the signs are that this problem won't improve. In children aged between 2 and 15, 28% of girls and 22% of boys are overweight.