HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – As a portly woman plodded ahead of him on the sidewalk, the obese mayor of America's fattest and unhealthiest city explained why health is not a big local issue.
"It doesn't come up," said David Felinton, 5-foot-9 and 233 pounds, as he walked toward City Hall one recent morning. "We've got a lot of economic challenges here in Huntington. That's usually the focus."
Huntington's economy has withered, its poverty rate is worse than the national average, and vagrants haunt a downtown riverfront park. But this city's financial woes are not nearly as bad as its health.
Nearly half the adults in Huntington's five-county metropolitan area are obese—an astounding percentage, far bigger than the national average in a country with a well-known weight problem.
Apparently they have two hundred pizza joints in Huntington, WV. Not bad.
I admit to gawping and slavering at the McDonald's quarter-pounder perhaps more than I ought to, even after Morgan Spurlock showed us all that Mickey D's food is a chemical-meat-potato-chicken neck nukular disaster. Who could forget the scene with those french fries, under a glass cover for a month or so, that didn't change shape or grow mold? And I willingly put that shit into my gut. If it don't decompose, why the hell am I swallowing it? I need to answer that for myself soon, but you'll have to excuse me, my cheeseburger and fries are reheating.
Too, I have heard my friend Emily lecture to anyone who will listen about the high fructose corn syrup in sodas and many foods, expecially the processed foods that— you guessed it—poor people buy. I'm not poor, if I ever really was— it's debatable— but I sure enough eat like I'm poor most days. Ease of cooking and speed of consumption rule the day.
This is the part where I say I hope my kids are smarter than I am.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I'll be damned. Poor people don't eat well, and get fat as a result? Who woulda thunk it?