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EDITORIAL: Editorial: Good, Greasy Southern Cooking Made Alabama Fat

July 31, 2008

By Opelika-Auburn News, Ala.

Jul. 31–Nobody enjoys being called fat. It’s an insult.

But when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called Alabama fat earlier this month, it’s nothing more than the cold, hard truth.

According to the government survey, Alabama is the second-most obese state in the U.S., trailing only neighbor Mississippi. The report shows that 30.3 percent of Alabama adults are obese, compared to 32 percent in Mississippi, which has been the nation’s most obese state five years running.

Fact is, Southern states are often the nation’s most obese, while western states are often the least.

Why?

Some claim the oppressive heat and humidity encourages many Southerners to stay indoors, which obviously reduces the amount of physical activity one will perform and, in turn, reduces the amount of calories expended. We’re moving into the hottest period of the year, and taking time to get exercise in the summer heat certainly is not encouraged.

Health clubs, however, are located indoors, and they do have air conditioning. But health clubs cost money and the South is the poorest region of the country.

People who struggle to put food, albeit fried, on the table aren’t necessarily going to spend $30 to $40 per month for the opportunity to walk on a treadmill at their local gym.

Those who can afford it are the most likely to do this.

But let’s put the heat, gym memberships and bank accounts aside. The South is the nation’s fattest region mostly because we overindulge in high-calorie, high-fat foods.

The South is known for fried chicken, fried catfish, fried okra, fried this and fried that. It’s part of Southern culture. So is pork barbecue and other fatty meats.

There’s nothing wrong with Southern cooking. It’s part of our heritage, and for those who haven’t experienced it, they’re surely missing out. But we really must be more mindful not to overdo on our culinary treats, consume them in moderation and consider healthier alternatives.

Obesity is often correlated with a myriad of health issues, including diabetes, cancer and heart problems. We owe it to ourselves and our children to fight this trend and win the battle of the bulge.

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Copyright (c) 2008, Opelika-Auburn News, Ala.

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