When I was helping out after Hurricane Rita in Mississippi, I got to experience, first hand, southern hospitality and also the gateway to obesity, down home southern cooking. The only thing that saved me from coming back from that trip 25 pounds heavier was the fact that this high altitude, low humidity Colorado guy was sweating from daylight to dark as we cut trees off the tops of people’s houses.

I don’t think you’ll find many from the south that will argue that the staple of southern diets, fried food, is a sure way to stay slim and trim. With the top three states in this years obesity survey being, in order, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, you have a cultural cross section of the country that is all about family, friends and meals. I’m not saying that it’s like they are just out to get fat. Rather it seems more that eating is a form of community and fellowship.

Anyway, before I stray off and tick off everyone in the south, the point is that while the weight issue is more prevalent in the south, there is actually only one state where less than 20% of the population isn’t obese according to the body mass index and that is Colorado. And I don’t mention that because I live in Colorado, but because we all live in an absurdly overweight country.

Does it seem to anyone that having 30% of your state’s population over the standard for obesity is a healthy thing? From a health and life insurance standpoint it is a recipe for disaster. Chronic obesity throws the door wide open to the other great epidemic of the last 10 years, type 2 diabetes. Sure, these things are survivable and sure, you might still be able to get life insurance, but where is the quality of life and where is the affordable life insurance.

Bottom line. Studies have shown that losing weight can reduce the risk of numerous health conditions and even reverse, or cure, type 2 diabetes. Sometimes I think I come off a little too preachy, but let’s be real. Obesity can be reversed. You can change your diet and your life style. We can bring our country back from the brink of eating ourselves to death, for us, and for our children.

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