Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Are states obesity rates fueled by local selection?


I don't know what inspired this blog post; probably a combination of things really... see I live in the South, the home of America's obesity epidemic. I never really struggled with weight growing up, the only time I could really be called a little chubby was in eighth grade, right after my parents divorced, with I gained 14 lbs and hit 135 up from my normal 121 lbs.

The past year has been really rough on me. If you read my other post you know that I have been trying to conceive for two years now. I'm an emotional eater and now my "menses" is a really negative time for me because A. it's painful as heck and gross and B. it means once again I have failed to get pregnant and I'm no closer to my dream of becoming a mother. I think many of us struggle with emotional eating!

I write a little bit about being healthy, its something I strive for and my blog is simply sharing my thoughts and experiences with you. In a child development course I took I learned that eating habits are ingrained in children from a young age, so what we feed our children really makes so much of an impact on to their health in later life (not that you are destined to be a bad eater because you were fed unhealthy but statistically you are more likely to be), eating habits are hard to change, which is why so many people who lose weight on a diet gain it back, because they can't stick to a healthy change in diet!

So now lets get to the point.
Here is an image of obesity rates across america:

Here is the 10 best and worst states to eat locally sourced food from
1. Vermont
2. Maine
3. New Hampshire
4. Oregon
5. Hawaii
6. Rhode Island
7. North Dakota
8. Wisconsin
9. Montana
10. Iowa
1. Texas
2. Nevada
3. Arizona
4. Louisiana
5. Arkansas
6. Oklahoma
7. Mississippi
8. Illinois
9. Utah
10. Alabama

I don't think the study done is 100% after all I would expect California to make the top list as well as New York. As an "Arky" or whatever you want to call us I can agree with us ranking as one of the worst places to eat local grown/sourced foods!

Look at the list and look at the obesity rates. In Arkansas the obesity rate is right around 35%. In fact almost all the states on the list of worst places to eat locally are southern states with high obesity rates! 

I live about 30 minutes from our state capital of Little Rock and let me tell you the choices of grocery stores in my city: Walmart, Walmart Super Center, and if we are being generous include a meat market, Walgreens, Dollar General, and a health store (none of which have enough groceries to do your grocery shopping at exclusively and none which sell fresh fruit and vegetables).

If you do a facebook search you will find a page dedicated to bringing Trader Joe's to our area with over 1,000 likes! I personally emailed them to suggest they come here! 

I write a blog, but I also love reading others. Since I'm a jew and a bit of a finance girl I read about grocery hauls and how others save money while shopping healthy... there is a bit of a theme in all of these blogs of vlogs: stores we don't have in Arkansas, or in the state at all!
We don't have
1. Trader Joe's
2. Aldi's
3. .99 store
4. Safeway
5. Costco
6. Harris Teeter
7. Hannaford
8. Albertson's
9. Food Lion
10. Publix
11. Pathmark

I can't say the prices at all of these establishments because some I have never seen (even though I moved around growing up). I can say the first 5 on the list and Publix are often the stores discount diva's shop at for their grocery haul vlogs/blogs. 

I don't have the option of organic versus non organic on many fruits and vegetables! I have called several meat shops and I don't have the option of grassfed, locally, humanely raised meat. We don't have a local coop anymore, it is still listed online but they don't know when they will resume it... and pickup is 30 minutes away even when they do! I don't even have an option on my chickens feed other than Purina or Dumor unless I buy online and the best feeds I have read about aren't sold online!

I'm not saying that we aren't responsible for ourselves and our choices, I'm just saying it isn't as easy or cheap to be healthy in some states where your choices are limited both by selection and the price of the healthy food that is available!

I wish our states would look out for our best interests and begin really investing in itself and us by increasing local produce!
The picture above isn't mine. It was made as a call to action by a city I believe. Eating food grown locally impacts not only you and your health but your community. Your money is staying local and supporting your farmers who in exchange are giving you healthy food (hopefully organic so they aren't spraying toxins in your community and on your food).

We NEED healthy choices to be healthy, and we need them to fit in our budget.

I'm not so naive as to believe that Trader Joe's coming to town would cause obesity to decrease overnight, but I absolutely believe that our lack of access to healthy affordable and locally grown produce is a major factor in our obesity epidemic!