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A cause Tell City Councilman Tony Hollinden and others are pushing throughout the county is more relevant to many of us than we may realize.
During each election season, the major media inform all of us Americans whether we live in red or blue states, depending on whether we're dominated by Republicans or Democrats. For the rest of the year, other colors matter more.
We should be striving to become a light-blue state, and that's what Tony's quest is about. Light blue is the color the Centers for Disease Control uses at its Web site to indicate less than 10 percent of a state's population is fat.
(Most literature uses terms like overweight and obese, but they're just nice ways to say fat. Those of us who are fat know euphemisms won't make the problem, or us, any less weighty. We can hide behind dressed-up terminology like proportionally impressive, but underneath, we're just fat.)
Indiana is a dark-orange state, according to the CDC's map, meaning from 25 to 29 percent of us Hoosiers are fat. Only three states, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, qualified under the 2007 obesity rankings for very-dark orange, indicating 30 percent or more of their inhabitants should find activities other than couch-pressing to practice.
(Statistical Note to the CDC: Louisiana and West Virginia fell through a crack in your rating system. They have fat rates of 29.8 and 29.5 percent, respectively, and your numbering system doesn't take into account their more-than-29-but-less-than-30 "achievement."
Psychological Note to CDC: Pointing this out is in no way relevant to people's tendency, when their flaws are being pointed out, to point to other people's greater faults.)
Only one state, Colorado, is blue on the CDC's map, but it's dark blue, indicating 15 to 19 percent of its residents are guilty of too many couch-presses. They have room to improve by two lighter shades of blue.
We used to be one of the lighter blues, but that was way back in 1985, the CDC's maps say. A slide show at www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/maps/index.htm shows a clear trend in state and national proportional impressiveness, one that is becoming more impressive year by year.
If it ever came to a fight between the states registering more or less than one-quarter of their residents as fat, the fat states would win because we are more numerous and have the weight advantage, bragging rights we probably shouldn't proclaim too loudly.
A victory, of course, would require that it's a quick, not-too-strenuous fight. If any running is involved, forget it. When we get to running, stuff starts bouncing, and it's all over.
I am what you might call nouveau-fat. I was skinny for most of my life, but have developed in recent years a belly that, left unsucked-in, is quite proportionally impressive.
My attempts at jogging of late have been squelched by bouncing, which contributes to increases in couch-pressing, which increases ... well, you get the idea.
Tony's discussions, most recently at meetings of Cannelton and Perry County government officials, are intended to generate excitement he said is already building over a county-wide fitness initiative. The people behind it want to see fitness become a quality in all members of our community.
Think about what that might do to the CDC's maps, a little beacon of blue beaming from a sea of dark orange. Maybe the light of our beacon will spread, reversing the CDC's slide show until the whole nation is blue.
Wouldn't that be Democratic?
Editor's Note: An enrollment form for the Tell City-Perry County 2009 Wellness Program can be found in the print edition of The News. The first gathering for the six-month program is planned for March 12. Watch The News for details.