It's strange that the people of Alabama put so much pride and effort into the physical sport of football while giving so little thought to personal fitness.
We are No. 1 on the college football field and No. 4 for obesity.
Obviously, we need to watch less physical activity and undertake more of it.
A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 32 percent of Alabama's adults were obese in 2011. That ranks us fourth behind Mississippi, Louisiana and West Virginia.
It's especially discouraging to consider we don't seem to be dropping any pounds despite statewide efforts to encourage weight loss.
The cause for our problems is simple. Dr. Jim McVay, head of health promotion for the Alabama Department of Public Health, attributes the state's dubious ranking to unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity. The problem gets worse, he added, as more young people become obese.
Obesity is not just fodder for jokes. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. The CDC estimates the national medical costs associated with obesity at $147 billion. The medical costs for people who are obese are $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.
It's time we put as much passion into personal fitness as we place on watching sports.
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