Ok, here’s a cute web page showing the fittest and fattest states based on how much driving people do vs. walking, biking, or taking public transit: http://awesome.good.is/transparency/web/1008/driving-and-obesity-3/transparency.jpg
It’s cute, but is it true?
Well, the text at the top starts off with “It’s a simple equation. Exercise more and lose weight.”
Hold on a minute! I realize that for most of our lives we’ve been told that it’s simply the calories you consume – the calories you burn that matters. And exercise is certainly an important and even vital part of a healthy lifestyle.
But these numbers are a bit misleading. Texas (where I am currently residing), for example, gets horrible marks all around and shows a fat guy and a low rank for fitness levels. And, people are definitely car-lovers here, and there is traffic in the cities. But is this why they are fat? It could be a factor, but given that diet is 80% or more of the fit-or-fat equation, I have my doubts.
For example, there’s a motto here- “everything is bigger in Texas”, and this applies to food above all else! Just the other day I was asked if I wanted a “Texas-sized iced tea”! So this extends to other foods and drinks, and typically the ones that are not so good for our waistlines. I can imagine people are more likely to get Texas-sized Cokes and Texas-sized pizzas too, shooting their insulin levels through the roof and storing these calories as fat.
The driving and not walking definitely does not help, and spending lots of time in one’s car is not part of a healthy lifestyle. But the emphasis on graphs like these is in the wrong place. Instead, let’s take a look at the diets of these Americans and show them how they can even stay slim with a long commute if necessary.