CDC Report Says Mississippi Is Most Obese

July 17, 2008

Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee lead the nation when it comes to obesity, a new government survey reported Thursday.

More than 30 percent of adults in each of the states tipped the scales enough to ensure the South remains the nation’s fattest region.

Colorado was the least obese, with about 19 percent fitting that category in a random telephone survey last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 2007 findings are similar to results from the same survey the three previous years. Mississippi has had the highest obesity rate every year since 2004. But Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Louisiana have also clustered near the top of the list, often so close that the difference between their rates and Mississippi’s may not be statistically significant.

Why is the South so heavy? The traditional Southern diet – high in fat and fried food – may be part of the answer, said Dr. William Dietz, who heads CDC’s nutrition, physical activity and obesity division.

The South also has a large concentration of rural residents and black women – two groups that tend to have higher obesity rates, he said.

Colorado, meanwhile, is a state with a reputation for exercise. It has plentiful biking and hiking trails, and an elevation that causes the body to labor a bit more, Dietz said.

Obesity is based on the body mass index, a calculation using height and weight. A 5-foot, 9-inch adult who weighs 203 pounds would have a BMI of 30, which is considered the threshold for obesity.

CDC officials believe the telephone survey of 350,000 adults offers conservative estimates of obesity rates, because it’s based on what respondents said about their height and weight. Men commonly overstate their height and women often lowball their weight, health experts say.

“The heavier you are, the more you underestimate your weight, probably because you don’t weigh yourself as often,” Dietz said.

Overall, about 26 percent of the respondents were obese, according to the study, published this week in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

A different CDC survey – a gold-standard project in which researchers actually weigh and measure survey respondents – put the adult obesity rate at 34 percent in 2005 and 2006, the most recent years for which there are data.

Article by Mike Stobbe

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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Court Orders Kid To Apologize For Dressing As Penis

July 17, 2008

A judge in Saratoga, New York, has ordered 19-year-old Calvin Morett to write an apology to a the city of Saratoga Springs in New York for dressing in an offensive Penis-costume at a high school graduation after he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for dressing in a 6-foot penis costume at the graduation at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. A video of his visit last month has appeared on YouTube.

The judge has also ordered Morett to pay to have the apology published in a local newspaper, pay court fees and perform 24 hours of community service.

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City of Seattle Puts Super Toilets on EBay

July 17, 2008

Seattle city officials decided to pull the plug on the multimillion-dollar self-cleaning toilet stalls and instead put them on the auction site eBay with starting bids at $89,000 apiece. This action was taken as a result of reports given by neighbors and city-commissioned analysts that the unisex facilities attracted drug users and prostitutes, and were less cost-effective than regular public restrooms. The German-made automatic, high-tech toilets were installed in 2004 and have cost the city about $5 million. Each has handsfree washing and drying ability and an emergency button that automatically dials 911.

On May 19, a City Council vote to remove the problem toilets was cast. The automated doors on the impact- and graffiti-resistant toilets will close Aug. 1, said Andy Ryan, a spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities. The auction will last for 10 days, but as of Thursday morning, none of the toilets had received any bids.

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