We’re Number…One? New CDC Fat Maps Are Out And The U.S. Is Still As Obese As Ever


I’m Not Fat, I’m Big-Boned: The New CDC Numbers For Obesity Rates Is Out–And It Isn’t Good News

“I’m not fat! I’m big-boned!”

That’s one of many catch-phrases belonging to Cartman, the loveable/hateable character on South Park, the long-running, cutting-edge cartoon about the lives of four foul-mouthed third-graders in Colorado. Despite being a cartoon ostensibly about children, the show does a tremendous job of parodying modern life and culture, skewering everything ranging from politics to religion.

And from time to time, one of the ways the show does this is by taking aim at Cartman’s obesity.

Not to read too deeply into it, but his denial over how fat he is could be taken as a nice summary of how a great many Americans deal with their own obesity.


As the new Centers for Disease Control “fat maps” show, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, when it comes to the obesity of Americans. For those eager to know where your state falls in the battle of the bulge, don’t worry: every one of the 50 states had an adult obesity rate of at least 20 percent.

Colorado came in at the slimmest at 20.2 percent of people in the obesity range, whereas Louisiana was fattest, with, stunningly, over a third of its residents rated as obese, at 36.2 percent.

The study culled data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an ongoing phone survey that queries residents of the U.S. as well as three territories about an array of measures that can be used to determine a person’s general health, including height and weight.

Here are some takeaways from the study:

• There were six states in total that came in under a 25 percent obesity ranking, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, and Utah.
• There were 19 states along with Puerto Rico that came in between 25 and 30 percent.
• 21 states along with Guam had obesity ratings that fell between 30 and 35 percent
• And now the Big Daddies: four states, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia had obesity ratings of 35 percent or higher.
• Perhaps unsurprisingly, the South had the highest obesity rating, of 31.2 percent on average. But people from the Midwest shouldn’t get too smug: they came in a close second as a region, with an average rating of 30.7 percent. The Northeast was at 26.4 and the Western states were 25.2 percent on average.

What should be abundantly clear from all this is that whatever has been tried thus far to combat obesity isn’t working. If only we had a government that wasn’t completely supine when it comes to catering to the whims of the big food industry.

Soda taxes and clear, unambiguous labeling has been shown to work in other countries–if we’re so concerned about obesity in America, why can’t we try that here?

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