Monday, July 29, 2013

Watching the local news...

And I've noticed the anchors and weather folks are kind of heavy.  I'm not offended by that.  What's important is that they are competent.  But seeing these heavier anchors did spark an interesting conversation with Bill.  We wondered why they looked so different and Bill said he thought maybe they don't care about weight as much down here.

My comment was that it could be there weren't as many thinner candidates for the job.  Mississippi is historically among the fattest states in the USA.  Bill said he thought it was because of the rich southern diet down here.  And I said, that correlates to the agrarian culture and poverty.  Mississippi is also a poor state and poverty, at least in the USA, correlates to obesity.

I remember back in 1999, when I started studying for my MPH.  I took a class that was about perspectives of health care.  I don't remember the name of the course, but I do remember the course number.  I also remembered being surprised to hear that in America, it's poor people who tend to be fattest.

This was a weird concept for me, since only two years prior, I lived in a country where poor people were very thin.  Armenians didn't like "fat", but very thin people were thin because they didn't have food.  If you were heavier, it meant you had money.  If you lost weight while staying with a host, in their eyes, it meant they weren't being hospitable.  It was odd to adjust my thinking back to the USA, where poor people are heavier not because they have no food, but because of the quality of the food they have access to.

Many really poor Americans don't live in areas where they have access to markets with good food.  They don't tend to have cars that can take them to areas where good food is available, nor can they necessarily afford the gas to fuel the cars.  Once they get to the store, they can't necessarily afford the perishable foods that are healthiest, nor do they always have refrigerators to keep them fresh.  Boxed, canned, processed foods are cheaper and last longer... But they also tend to lead to obesity.

What about a garden?  For that, you need land and time to tend the garden... And you have to know  how to make the food grow.  Some poor people have that.  Some don't.

Interesting how watching the weather can lead to such thinking on a Monday morning.  I don't assume anchor people in Mississippi are heavier because they are poor...  There are many reasons why people gain weight.  I'm not poor or from the Deep South, nor do I suffer from a lack of education.  I can shop at Whole Foods anytime I want to if there is one accessible.  But I haven't been "slim" in years.  I eat foods that aren't necessarily good for me and I don't exercise enough.  My guess is that the anchors down here are the same.

I just thought it was interesting to think about how the axis shifted.  In many parts of the world, it's true that the thinnest people are the poorest because they lack food.  In America, some people lack food, but most just lack access to good food.  That is, food that is good for you, as opposed to good tasting.

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