Tuesday, July 08, 2003

I’ve seen and read a lot about the growing obesity epidemic in the U.S. since moving to the Bay area a couple years ago. Moving from Chicago (rated by Men’s Fitness magazine as the 2nd fattest city in the U.S-) to Berkeley it was amazing to see just how much more fit people out here seemed to be in addition to how much things like nutrition, exercise, portion size and general health consciousness were mainstreamed. And I’m not just talking about the prevalence of this regions organic/No-GMO movements, although their activism and advocacy has, no doubt, played an important role. It seems to me like folks out here are simply more aware, more demanding and more concerned about what they eat and how it effects their physical and mental health and have been for far longer than probably anywhere else in the U.S. Perhaps the biggest contributing factor to this "healthy diet consciosness"comes from the massive accumulation of wealth in this area. And with that heavy concentration of wealth comes access to quality grocery stores with wide selections of fresh foods as opposed to low-income neighborhoods and their over-priced corner stores and fast-food restaurants. Returning to Chicago earlier this Summer, both Cathy and I were overwhelmed by how many overweight people we saw. Even more disheartening, overweight people wearing various articles of spandex and sweating profusely. Too many Vienna Beef smoothies perhaps?

According to the Center for Disease Control, “Recent results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicate that an estimated 61 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese.” You’re overweight or obese if your body mass index (BMI) rates 25 or more. Here’s a handy calculator for you to figure out your own. I’m currently at 24.9. I’m clearly living dangerously on the edge. I figure I’m a Krispy Kreme away from pudgy.

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