THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD

The starting date for most diets is “tomorrow”. For the more stringent programs that require a severely diminished calorie intake and vigorous exercise, the typical starting date is “one of these days”.

In spite of this procrastination, we Americans pour $72 billion each year into the cash registers of weight-loss enterprises because 7 out of 10 of us are overweight or obese. We are keeping a lot of weight-loss employees well fed.

Have you become one of us, the portly 70 percent? You might be if the print- out on your digital scale reads “One at a time please” or if people see you taking up most of the elevator space and say, “Never mind. We’ll catch the next one.” Do ferryboat captains insist that you sit amidships?

State-by-state statistics are revealing. Mississippi is the heaviest state with 67 percent of its adults overweight or obese. Colorado ranks the leanest with 55 percent in that category and New Jersey is in between those two with 60 percent and is slimmer than 41 other states. Colorado’s ranking should have a foot note. I would think that high up in the Rockies, gravity has less pull. That’s why I always weigh myself in the attic.

This corpulence epidemic is global. Weight-loss businesses around the world are counting on a $279 billion take early in the next decade, something like a 65 percent improvement in their bottom lines based on a continued enlargement of our bottom lines.

Has every branch of the scientific community studied this trend? Could the increasing weight of the earth’s inhabitants eventually alter it’s tilt and its orbit and thereby its climate? Perhaps we don’t have to drastically reduce carbon emissions. Maybe we can solve the problem of global warming by outlawing supreme pizzas and multi-tiered hamburgers and granting tax cuts to the salad industry.

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