W. Virginia town shrugs at poorest health ranking

I'll be damned. Poor peo­ple don't eat well, and get fat as a result? Who woul­da thunk it?

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – As a port­ly woman plod­ded ahead of him on the side­walk, the obese may­or of America's fat­test and unhealth­i­est city explained why health is not a big local issue.

"It doesn't come up," said David Felin­ton, 5‑foot‑9 and 233 pounds, as he walked toward City Hall one recent morn­ing. "We've got a lot of eco­nom­ic chal­lenges here in Hunt­ing­ton. That's usu­al­ly the focus."

Huntington's econ­o­my has with­ered, its pover­ty rate is worse than the nation­al aver­age, and vagrants haunt a down­town river­front park. But this city's finan­cial woes are not near­ly as bad as its health.

Near­ly half the adults in Huntington's five-coun­ty met­ro­pol­i­tan area are obese—an astound­ing per­cent­age, far big­ger than the nation­al aver­age in a coun­try with a well-known weight problem.

Appar­ent­ly they have two hun­dred piz­za joints in Hunt­ing­ton, WV. Not bad.

I admit to gaw­ping and slaver­ing at the McDonald's quar­ter-pounder per­haps more than I ought to, even after Mor­gan Spur­lock showed us all that Mick­ey D's food is a chem­i­cal-meat-pota­to-chick­en neck nuku­lar dis­as­ter. Who could for­get the scene with those french fries, under a glass cov­er for a month or so, that didn't change shape or grow mold? And I will­ing­ly put that shit into my gut. If it don't decom­pose, why the hell am I swal­low­ing it? I need to answer that for myself soon, but you'll have to excuse me, my cheese­burg­er and fries are reheating.

Too, I have heard my friend Emi­ly lec­ture to any­one who will lis­ten about the high fruc­tose corn syrup in sodas and many foods, expe­cial­ly the processed foods that— you guessed it—poor peo­ple buy. I'm not poor, if I ever real­ly was— it's debat­able— but I sure enough eat like I'm poor most days. Ease of cook­ing and speed of con­sump­tion rule the day.

This is the part where I say I hope my kids are smarter than I am.

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