Thursday, December 4, 2008

Forget Red or Blue. How About Fat or Skinny States?

Louisiana is the least healthy state, according to new rankings from the American Public Health Association. In fact, the South as a whole is in bad (that is to say, flabby) shape. The bottom ten states include Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nevada and Georgia.

Coming from LA, the land of power yoga, macrobiotic food and insanely fit people, I wonder about moving to a "fat state." As you know, I have crushes on cities in South Carolina (Charleston), Texas (Austin), Mississippi (Natchez), Louisiana (New Orleans) and Arkansas (Eureka Springs). Would I slowly abandon the healthy lifestyle I started here in California? Shrug off a jog because it's too hot - or there's a "12 free wings special during happy hour"?

And what about the lack of smoking bans in bars/restaurants in many such states? Having teared up like a funeral attendant in Arkansas' hazy bars, I seem to be rather sensitive now. Is that something you can get used to again after living in a smoke-free state?

I guess it comes down to how much the "norms" of your environment really influence your habits. I certainly weigh less, eat better and exercise more in California than anywhere else I've lived. But that could also be the product of the dawning awareness that hits many of us in our late 20s / early 30s.

At the moment, I am thinking (perhaps gamely) I could hold onto my waistline even in the South because the money I'll save in cost of living pays for the gym and Whole Foods (if there is one!) combined. As for the smoking in bars, that still stinks. Literally. Like my hair and clothing the next day. But there are other ways to socialize, right?

1 comment:

Hi, I'm Cameron Blazer. said...

No fear here, dear! Smoking bans are in effect in Charleston and have been upheld against challenges in our state Supreme Court.