Indiana speeds up killing itself with fat

If you are sensitive about your weight around Thanksgiving, you probably should not read this and cover your ears.

On the other hand, you might be slim, fit and vigorous for the holidays and thus can employ those attributes for their best-intended use — lording it over broad-beamed Hoosier neighbors and making them feel bad.


Nothing makes you feel better about your weight than shaming fat neighbors on Thanksgiving.

Just in time, the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have their annual dirge of data to make you feel humbled.


The "State of Obesity" report ranks Indiana with the 15th highest obesity rate in the country. Among adults, 31.3 percent of Hoosiers are obese. Not overweight. Not "I should lose a few pounds" but obese.

The least slim age group is "45-64." Thirty-seven percent of you are obese.

After three decades of being warned, counseled and advised to make better life choices, Indiana apparently hasn't listened.

Overall, Indiana's adult obesity rate is up from 20.5 percent in 2000 and from 13.3 percent in 1990. Hoosier men and women share the weight in roughly equal proportions.

At one time, 87 percent of Hoosier adults were fit and trim.

According to the most recent data, adult obesity rates now exceed 35 percent in four states, 30 percent in 25 states and are above 20 percent in all states. Louisiana has the highest adult obesity rate at 36.2 percent and Colorado has the lowest at 20.2 percent. U.S. adult obesity rates decreased in four states (Minnesota, Montana, New York and Ohio), increased in two (Kansas and Kentucky) and remained stable in the rest, between 2014 and 2015.

This marks the first time in the past decade that any states have experienced decreases — aside from a decline in Washington, D.C. in 2010.

Bad eating habits lead to more than fat, of course. It ruins well-being.


Indiana is 13th in the country for diabetes with 544,000 cases, headed up to 814,420 in 14 years if the pace continues.

Thirty-two percent of you (1,249,000) have high blood pressure.

In 2010, 386,193 of you had heart disease. By 2030, that number will be 1,746,600 in Indiana.

In 2010, obesity-related cancers hit 99,188 of you. By 2030, that number will reach 243,000.

The number crunchers at the personal finance company WalletHub similarly have surveyed the nation's girth and found Hoosiers to be a portly, stout bunch of lard bottoms.

That sounds judgmental, and we're not supposed to be so harsh. Indeed, shaming the shamers has become the new trend.


But facts are facts, even if they are uncomfortable.

WalletHub says Indiana is the 12th fattest state in the nation.

Indiana stands at the very edge of the Red State fat belt. If it weren't for Mississippi (1), Louisiana (2), Kansas (3), Kentucky (4) Tennessee (5), West Virginia, (6) South Carolina (7) and Alabama (8), the United Nations would need to dispatch a rescue unit to extricate Hoosiers from tight pants.

The WalletHub survey on health tends to reinforce ancient regional and cultural stereotypes. States that exercise, avoid lard and shun smoking tend to be healthier. People living in climates where sitting on a porch all day munching on nachos and lard dip will be fatter.

In order to determine the fattest states, WalletHub's analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key dimensions: 1) Obesity & Overweight Prevalence, 2) Unhealthy Habits & Consequences and 3) Food & Fitness.

Then they subdivided those categories into 17 weighted metrics, by rating frequency of obesity, eating habits, even how many exercise joints and fast food emporiums are nearby.


Everything that makes you fat is considered.

The numbers all say the same thing.

Indiana is fat.

Except for Delaware and Kansas by a few pounds and several premature deaths due to cardiovascular inactivity, Indiana is the fattest state not in Dixie.

Fat is relative term which means that if you have fat relatives, you're likely will be fat, too.

If parents are poundage-challenged because of bad eating habits, inactivity and general inattention, the chances are their children will be subject to the same burdens.


If you believed such parents, their weight problems are all tied to bad thyroid secretions and fat genes.

Fat genes always lead to fat jeans. But the solution is always deceptively simple.

Exercise, eat better food but less of it.

Paying attention? No, I didn't think so.

David Rutter was editor for 40 years at six newspapers.