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Radiant Fitness: National Fat War--Colorado vs. Kentucky

Posted Aug 24 2008 12:35am
It's Monday morning and I'm in my Estes, Park, CO hotel room, preparing to take two boys and a toddler on a hike through Rocky Mountain National Park.

According to the Centers for Disease Control , Colorado is the skinniest state in the nation--only 19.2% are obese as of 2007. As as opposed to, say Kentucky, in which 28.7% of us are obese (currently, KY ranks as the 5th fattest state in the nation).

(Please note-- obesity is a clinical term--these stats do not account for those who are simply clinically overweight.)

When she works to garner support for obesity prevention and health initiates, Boone County Representative Addia Wuchner often hears the dismissive claim, "We can't do that here. This is Kentucky, not Colorado."

The implication: Colorado is somehow innately superior to Kentucky, which is why Coloradans are thinner.

Perhaps it's environment. After all, I sit here on a cool morning in the Rocky Mountains, and because of elevation, my heart and lungs have to work harder (and burn more calories). Colorado has mountains! That must be the difference!

Oh, wait. Kentucky has those, too. Not as high, perhaps, but just as rugged and filled with trails, beauty, scenery and opportunities to explore.

Okay . . .perhaps it's in the DNA. After all, Coloradans are descended from hardy pioneer stock.

Oh, wait. Our Kentucky ancestors were blazing the trails years before anyone had even heard of Colorado.

Well, perhaps it's character. When the folks in Frankfort tell Addia, "This is Kentucky," they are implying that our love of southern-fried chicken on Sundays is an endemic character flaw. Kentuckians are simply morally incapable of making wise health choices. Addia finds this implication insulting, and so do I.

Nevertheless, I feel it is my duty as your personal trainer, fitness instructor, and would-be journalist to investigate the truth about Colorado vs. Kentucky in the American Fat War. I will throw myself into the trenches for your sake, hiking the trails (well the easy ones that take a stroller), visiting the eateries (does that Mexican restaurant serve organic Margaritas?) and interrogating the locals (namely, my new in-laws, whom I will meet at the wedding in Loveland this coming weekend).

I do this for you. So do something for me! Post a response below and weigh in on the fat wars--CO vs. KY. Why do you think their residents are thinner? What advantages and disadvantages do we have in Kentucky? What would you say to a legislator who says, "We can't build bike paths/fund pediatric obesity interventions/support smoking cessation classes/invest in pathways in parks, because we're not Colorado."

Hit "comments" below right now and a random poster (who hasn't won before in 2008) will win a free workout DVD!
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