Assorted links


An article on fat southerners that doesn't mention demographics. Paging Steve Sailer!

charlie: I would have said the opposite. I thought black women in New Orleans were a bit smaller than white women on average, and black men were way smaller on average.

I like how the article actually compared each theory's implications to outcomes in other states (unusual), but why don't these articles ever look at the rest of the world? (assuming they're interested in knowing the truth)

The Time article mentions a culture of fried foods. Why is there a culture of fried food?

It's hot in the South. Baking your dinner would make your home unbearably hot so you grill or fry it instead.

The article about obesity in the South is incredibly wrongheaded. The author shows that there is no correlation between poverty (the lack of access to low calorie food) and obesity, but in the end still concludes that there is. At the same time the author has apperantly have never heard about:

1) the evidence that it is carbs and not fat that makes people obese;
2) the fact that obesity is not simply the result of less calories out than calories in: it's the kind of calories that counts (hence the title of Gary Taubes book: Good Calories, bad calories), not the amount;
3) the fact that more physical activity will result in people eating more aswell. You lose more calories, but most people will take more calories in. The obesity epidemic started at the same time as the fitness epidemic. Here we do have a correlation.

Given abundant, cheap food plumpness is the default condition (humans are evolved to enjoy eating). It takes strong social pressure to overcome the natural tendency. That social pressure varies by social class and by whether people are mate-seeking (that is, mainly whether they are young and single, so they want to look fit).

Overweight is inversely correlated with age, social class, and intelligence. Older, lower-class, and less-bright people are overrepresented in the populations of the Southern States (e.g.g., retirees, crackers, and melanin-enabled folks).

The ratio of fresh-carrots to french-fries prices has very little to do with it.

might i be the first to suggest that anyone worth a damn has long since left the south, causing sampling selection concerns?

2 words, public transportation.

Where you have good public transport and terrible personal transport people will be fit, because public transport requires a great deal of annoyance and walking. Most large cities in the south are HUGE in area and have terrible public transport and good to decent road systems.

Which is why Chicago is a famously skinny city...

But seriously, this should be pretty easily testable by checking urban against urban and rural against rural. Want to bet that people in rural New England and the Pacific NW aren't thinner than the rural South (and the Midwest)? I wouldn't

We've reached the point in the US food is cheap and easily obtained. If you told my great grandfather about that when he was a boy, he wouldn't believe you.

As noted above, the solution to an age old problem creates different challenges. Our bodies developed during times when food was harder to obtain and typically required manual labor of some sort.

You can also thank the USDA (see The Omnivore's Dilemma) for corn and all its wonderful spin offs.

Lastly, as someone has lived in the urban northeast, urban midwest and rural south, the idea that there is some form of unequal distribution of IQ, class and age in the south is just silly. I think it's more likely that the distribution is fairly equal. Poor old crackers don't make it on Page Six or TMZ very often.

A recent large retrospective from Australia using U.S. data demonstrated that increasing calorie intake accounted for virtually all of the weight gain seen in the United States since the 1970s, and that a lack of exercise had little to do with the issue. I'm increasingly skeptical of the style of writing in the Time piece where the "studies" and "medical experts" are nebulously cited as determing the fact that obesity is the a horrific and astronomically costly condition on average.

Otherwise, yes, there has long been a culture of food and cooking and large meals in the south, but a rough count from this link:

... shows there are roughly 25 states with obesity rates in the 25-29% range, and virtually every other state except Colorado is in the 20-25% range and climbing. In light of that, I have a hard time looking at a 30%-range southern state and wondering, "What's up with THOSE lardballs?!" It's silly. The south is simply a little ahead of the curve on the factors that make people fat, the prime of which is that we are programmed to tenaciously store calories as fat, and we now live in a nation in which massive quantities of calories are available at the snap of a finger for very little money.

The first question posed to Ed Phelps--is the economy close to a bottom?--reveals a basic fallacy. Economists, particularly those not of the Austrian school, are no more qualified to answer this question than physicists or taxi drivers or small business owners. Indeed, I would say the latter group are probably better at gauging this question, and truck drivers better still.

why are southerners overweight? why ask? given that the earth is wider at lower latitudes, they should weigh more given the same mass. have they controlled for this?

Babar, it's the opposite. Near the equator, you're farther from the center of the earth. In addition, the earth is spinning. Both factors make you weight less at lower latitudes.

Nice try though. :)

Why are we Southerners so fat?
Because it is HOT AS A CROTCH and twice as humid PLUS Sonic has soft drink happy hour every day from 2 to 4 PM!

Comments for this post are closed