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Obesity Rate Rises in 28 States, The Food That Got Them There


Adult obesity rates increased in 28 states over the past year, according to the latest report “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010” issued by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia, 38 states in all had obesity rates above 25%.

Mississippi ranked at the top of the U.S. obesity rate list, with 33.8% of its population obese. In fact, ten of the top 11 states with high obesity rates are in the South including Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, and North and South Carolina.

The report also found childhood obesity to be rampant, with more than 12 million children and adolescents considered obese.

Obviously, poor diets contribute to the upward trend of both adult and childhood obesity. Huge portion sizes and high calorie and fat content contribute to the expanding of Americans’ waistlines the rise of obesity rates. Health.com recently featured the 50 fattiest regional favorites from each state in the nation. Following are the favorites in the top 12 fattest states:

1. Mississippi: Decadent dining choices, like the Mud Pie, rumored to have originated in the Magnolia State, are certainly part of the problem. Recipes call for high fat ingredients such as cream cheese, ice cream or pudding mix (made with whole milk). Plus, the dessert is high in sugar and calories. Health.com found that a commercially prepared version at nationwide chain Cosi clocks in at 35 grams of fat per serving, the upper daily limit. Homemade varieties vary between 24 and 38 grams.

2. Alabama and Tennessee tie for number two with 31.6% of the population obese. A regional Alabama favorite is bacon wrapped meatloaf from Greer’s Market in Mobile. The meatloaf itself is made with traditional ingredients (ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs) then it is wrapped in bacon. Even if your slice only has one piece of bacon, you can count on at least 17 grams of fat.

3. Tennessee is the original home to the national chain Ruby Tuesday which is best known for its burgers. The Triple Prime Bacon Cheddar Burger, with 8 ounces of beef, cheddar cheese, smoked bacon and mayonnaise, weighs in at 115 grams of fat – more than you should have in three days.

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4. Just over 31% of the residents of West Virginia are obese. Huntington, the town recently featured on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on ABC, is home to Hillbilly Hotdogs which offers 5 and 10 pound burgers and a 15-inch hot dog. Someone attempting to eat 10 pounds of ground meat will consume around 800 grams of fat – an entire day’s worth for 22 people.

5. Louisiana is very well-known for awesome food. Among the most popular are the beignets at Café Du Monde. These fried puffs of pastry dough covered in powdered sugar contain as much fat as a McDonald’s cheeseburger…and they are often just eaten as a snack.

6. Almost 31% of the residents of Oklahoma are obese and it’s no wonder. One of the “official state foods” is the chicken fried steak. The recipe calls for beef, egg, milk, salt, and pepper pressed together in a patty and then battered and fried. It is then smothered in gravy. Recipes vary in fat content, but the average is 26 grams per serving.

7. Kentucky’s restaurant claim to fame is obviously KFC, the chain that most recently introduced the “Double Down” sandwich. This bunless sandwich contains two fried chicken fillets, bacon, two kinds of cheese, and a “special sauce.” The total fat content in one sandwich equals 32 grams.

8. Arkansas, among other Southern States, is famous for a traditional-style fish fry featuring catfish that is battered and fried and served with hushpuppies. Even a “faux fried” dish (baked in the oven instead of deep fried in oil) can contain 25 grams of fat per serving.

9. South Carolina is the first state in the top ten that has under 30% of its population considered obese – but just slightly at 29.9%. Health.com found an unusual Thanksgiving tradition that started in the southern state – the turducken. This consists of a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken. It also frequently contains stuffing made with cornbread and pork sausage. Some homemade versions contain between 53 and 118 grams of fat.

10. Michigan and North Carolina tie for tenth place in the report at 29.4% of the population obese. Michigan’s own Tony’s I-75 is home to the world’s largest BLT sandwich. Each contains over a pound of bacon (20 strips) and 192 grams of fat – more than a person should get in 5 days.

11. North Carolina’s claim to fame is livermush, a dish of pig liver plus a mixture of other pig parts and cornmeal. Recipes vary according to the combination of ingredients, but one popular version contains 30 grams of fat per serving.

For the rest the Obesity Rates in U.S., see Health.com’s slide-show here.



While I certainly agree that there is substantial cause for concern regarding the obesity rates in the country, I feel that the reasoning as cited in this article is at best, poor. I doubt that the obesity rate in Tennessee is caused by everyone eating a triple bacon cheese burger from Ruby Tuesday ( a national chain). I live in North Carolina and I can assure you that there are not very many people that eat liver-mush (I have never met anyone that does), much less eat it on a regular basis. Perhaps a better target would be the lunch that is provided to our children in the schools of those regions, no doubt a prime cause of obesity in children and adolescents.