This is my personal blog, on which I talk about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy. Some topics are serious, others whimsical. I love comments and questions so don't be shy, just courteous, even if you don't agree with me. I have another blog, The Story Template, on which I post writing-related topics on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Let's see, a bit about me... I'm married with two children, and spend much time taking care of our family. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research. I am a Christian who came to faith under protest through studying the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. I also have written a nonfiction book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story. This book is a programmed learner-type book that helps you, the writer, develop a complete compelling story (novel or screenplay) from a vague idea.

YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why is America so Fat?

It's interesting to note that the obesity rate is skyrocketing in the USA. See this CDC site with an animated map showing the rates of obesity from 1985 to 2010 HERE. The site shows that in 1985 the incidence of obesity by state was, at most, 10-14%. (Some data is missing). However, by 2010 every state has an obesity incidence of at least 20-24%, and most states have a rate between 25-29% or even > 30%. This means that throughout the country, at least one out of five people is considered obese.

Holy Smokes. What happened?

My first thought is that it may not be as bad as it looks. Here are some facts:

1. These are cross-sectional data not longitudinal. As a scientist I would like to see the relative racial mixes of 1985 and 2010. Different ethnic groups may very well have different incidences of obesity. Pima Indians, anyone?

2. I would next like to see the relative ages of these populations. Again, I suspect that getting older may be associated with getting fatter.

However, all this being said, I find it interesting that we have so many overweight people now. I suspect that our diets now may not be the same as they were even 25 years ago, and this may lead to an increase in obesity. For example, in the supermarket I notice many labeled "low-fat" foods in the aisles, and I've heard that sugar consumption is very high now. No hard facts here, but some observations.

More next time.


  1. Great subject!!
    Anymore "Low Fat" = more sugar.
    I am living proof that it is so easy to develop a habit of eating the wrong things for my body. Eating emotionally and out of convenience is a hard habit to break. A healthy body needs to have a disciplined mind attached to it. Our society has made it quite easy to eat on the run. This is almost always bad for your body. The hard part is to be mindful of what you eat and be discipline to follow through.

  2. Barry, your diet has inspired me, and I'm really cheering you on. I believe that much of why America is fatter now than before is changing food availability and what is considered "healthy" eating. For example, whole grains have a high glycemic index (raise blood sugar quickly) which causes a large release of insulin which causes fat cells (and other cells) to deplete blood sugar. Yet, we're told to emphasize grains in our diets (11 servings on the food pyramid) while having fewer servings of protein and only a tiny bit of fat. This is insane. Yes, we all need control, but low blood sugar is a powerful impetus to eat -- and one feels that one has failed when in reality there are other forces. The trick is to eat different things that don't lead to low blood sugar -- then "will power" is easy because the body doesn't feel it is starving. It's tough in our society though. When the food choices in a vending machine are between pretzels (high glycemic) and a candy bar (high glycemic), what is one to do? Well, the nuts are a good choice, but in our society they are considered "fattening." Or pack a lunch, but most of the packable foods are also glycemic so you have to carefully choose. It's tough to get through this maze. I'll have more in the next few entries about this topic because it's fascinating.