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Almost a Quarter of Illinoisians Are Obese

By Laura Oppenheimer in News on Aug 28, 2007 7:00PM

2007_8_scale.jpgIs one out of four people you know obese? A new study out by the Trust for America's Health found that 24.4 percent of Illinoisans are obese, putting us squarely in the middle of the country (we are 25th). What is more troubling is that we have the the 14th highest rate of overweight youths (ages 10-17) at 15.8 percent. If you like to make comparisons, Colorado is the skinniest state and Mississippi was the most overweight, as measured by the percent of the population that is obese.

We're no strangers to hearing about how fat we are in the land of Lincoln. According to Men's Fitness, Chicago is the fattest city in the land. Clearly, Men's Fitness never made it Vegas. We do think it is interesting that in each study, different criteria are used, and we end up either being half as fat or twice as fat as before. Perhaps the moral of the story is to ignore the numbers and just get some exercise, as 24.3 percent of adults in Illinois said they do not engage in any physical activity. That isn't good!

That being said, we're taking these numbers with a grain of salt. We read U of C professor J. Eric Oliver's most recent book, Fat Politics. It traces the evolution of the contemporary obesity epidemic and finds that our conception of "obesity" is created by an industry that needs people to feel overweight in order to thrive. We're talking about big pharmaceutical companies, bariatric surgeons, weight loss clinics and on and on. These companies and organizations have a vested interest in making sure we all feel overweight all the time. Read it. We promise it will change your understanding of the words "fat" and "obese," both for the better. As for us? We need to go on a run; we're doing our part to make Illinois the 24th fattest state in next year's study.

Image via AllPosters.