Danny Tyree: 2030: Will your state be the fattest?
Perhaps you should be sitting down to read this.
Or maybe standing up would be better. Standing up, running in place and frantically yanking the carbs out of your children’s mouths!!!
Pardon me. I was just disturbed by a new report from the Reuters news service.
An advocacy group called Trust for America’s Health predicts that — if current trends continue — in another 18 years, 13 states will have adult obesity rates above 60 percent, 39 states might have rates above 50 percent and EVERY state will have rates above 44 percent.
Such results would catastrophically increase cases of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and endometrial cancer. Tens of billions of dollars would be added to the cost of private insurance and Medicare, which by 2030 would probably consist of vouchers for elastic waistband pants.
This is bad news for everybody, except the consulting firms that devise state nicknames. They’re probably champing at the bits to unveil revised monikers, such as Land of the Midnight Beer Run, The Show Me The Buffet State, the Heart Attack of Dixie, Big Gulp Country, The Drag-It-Through-The-Garden State, The (30 Minutes Or) Sooner State, the Badger Them Into Super-Sizing It State and my personal favorite, the “Hoosier Next Of Kin?” State.
The state nicknames will have to pay the bills for the consultants, since all the state ANIMALS they could recommend will have become extinct. (“It’s for the best. They were too greasy and gamey anyway. *Smack! Drool!*”)
Not everyone appreciates the gravity of the situation. (“Well, OUR statistics show the trend leveling off. No, wait — that’s a blob of gravy on the report. Mmmmm. ... Anyway, we’re not panicking — not when we have a Wii game that SIMULATES panic. Oh, no — the controller is all the way on the other side of the room! Darn!”)
Surely the potential impact on college football will get the attention of a few governors. Who could take pride in state universities where the “kicking off” is done by the assistant coach? Who would pay money to watch games in which the visiting team wins the coin toss and elects to receive ... defibrillation?
I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of a political angle on all this. (“I’m resigned to the reality that in 2030 we’ll have 47 percent of the people feeling entitled to...vertical stripes!”)
Yes, politics will be shaken up by this. Politicians will no longer get into bed with special interests. (“Could you sleep on the futon NEXT to the bed? I’m a little cramped here.”) The infamous ol’ boy network will fade away as no one lives long enough to BECOME an ol’ boy.
The report is not all doom and gloom. We are at a turning point. We can avoid this dystopian future by a combination of healthy school lunches, parental monitoring of junk food intake, psychological tricks for limiting portion size, modification of sedentary jobs and hobbies, increased outdoors activities and other measures.
We can still change attitudes and health profiles, before the cutthroat completion to update tourist attractions gets ugly. We really don’t need Mount Rushmore becoming home to the face of someone who famously admitted, “I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down the cherry tree — to make room for my first Krispy Kreme franchise!”
Danny Tyree welcomes reader e-mail responses at firstname.lastname@example.org.