Category Archives: obesity

2012 Gallop-Healthways Well-Being Index Report: Most Obese Metropolitan Areas

The Gallop-Healthways Well-Being Index attempts to track Americans’ physical and emotional health and quantify other information necessary to evaluate programs that can increase productivity and lower healthcare costs. Every year, the information collected throughout preceding months is used to generate a report of those metropolitan areas that have the highest obesity rates among its citizens.

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The report has been released, and the results are weighty:

1.  McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas
Obesity rate: 38.8 percent
Health care costs due to obesity: $411 million

2.  Binghamton, New York
Obesity rate: 37.6 percent
Health care costs due to obesity: $132 million

3.  Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia-Kentucky-Ohio
Obesity rate: 36 percent
Health care costs due to obesity: $147 million

4.  Rockford, Illinois
Obesity rate: 35.5 percent
Health care costs due to obesity: $179 million

5.  Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas
Obesity rate: 33.8 percent
Health care costs due to obesity: $183 million

6.  Charleston, West Virginia
Obesity rate: 33.8 percent
Health care costs due to obesity: $147 million

7.  Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida.
Obesity rate: 33.5 percent.
Health care costs due to obesity: $279 million

8.  Topeka, Kansas
Obesity rate: 33.3 percent
Health care costs due to obesity:$110 million

9.  Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Washington
Obesity rate: 33.2 percent
Health care costs due to obesity: $117 million

10.  Reading, Pennsylvania
Obesity rate: 32.7 percent
Health care costs due to obesity: $190 million

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Peanuts and Cracker Jacks? Baseball weighs in with an eight pound burger, a two foot hotdog and a three pound pretzel

Earlier this month, the Washington Nationals unveiled the StrausBurger, a hefty hamburger composed of ground brisket, chuck and short ribs topped with a heck of a lot of condiments.  The damn thing weighs in at around 8 pounds and contains somewhere in the neighborhood of 8,000 to 10,000 calories.

Ironically, the sandwich is named after Stephen Strausburg, a lanky young pitcher who looks like he’s never eaten a hamburger, much less a ball of meat that weighs as much as the human head.

Nolan Ryan, the competitive owner of the Texas Rangers, is obviously not impressed with the StrausBurger.  Earlier this week, his team introduced the Champion Dog, a 2 foot hotdog served on a virtual loaf of bread that weighs in at around a pound.  The monstrosity is complimented by sauteed onions, shredded cheese, chili, jalapenos, and, of course, a side order of french fries.  As you can tell from this picture, it’s about as big as a baseball bat.

Steve Peterson, President of Classic Foods, the producer of the meat used in the Champion Dog, was obviously excited.  When referring to the surreal combination of meat trimmings, fat, flavorings and preservatives, he claimed that it was “the next ka-pow.”  I’m still not sure if he was referring to the hot dog, the 2,000 to 3,000 calories contained in the meal, or its $26 price tag.

It’s not the first time that the Texas Rangers have offered fans the opportunity to stick a foot in the grave.  In 2010, the Ballpark at Arlington began serving a pretzel that tipped the scales at an absurd 3 pounds and topped the charts at between 3,400 and 3,700 calories.  It’s served with a modest sampling of marinara sauce, honey mustard dressing and nacho cheese and served in a cardboard pizza box. At the end of the day, it weights nearly as much as a chihuahua

Ballpark Operations Manager Casey Rapp explained the twisted reasoning behind the knot-shaped combination of flour and salt by reasoning that “[l]ast year during the playoffs, we said, ‘We gotta come up with something that’s bigger than anything else, that really signifies Texas.'”

Mr. Rapp certainly hit a home run – no pun intended – because everything really is bigger in Texas.  Including people.  For those of you keeping score, Arlington – the home of the Texas Rangers – now ranks as the 15th fattest city in the entire country.  Over 35 percent of the city’s population is clinically obese, which is the second highest rate in the entire freakin’ country.

Surprised?

(And before all the southerners call foul… yes, I live in Texas.  I used to live in Arlington.  But I’m still alive)

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The National Pastime: Peanuts, Cracker Jacks and… an EIGHT POUND hamburger?

Stephen Strasburg is bringing hope to baseball fans in our nation’s capital.  The highly-touted 23-year-old pitcher for the Washington Nationals has taken the mound seventeen times over the past two years, limiting opponents to a .211 batting average while recording 116 strikeouts, .98 WHIP and 2.40 ERA.  Loosely translated, he’s pretty darn good, and the peripheral statistics suggest that he should develop into a perennial All-Star.

The lanky phenom has a new claim to fame: the organization is now cleverly marketing a hamburger dubbed “the StrasBurger” as a homage to the pitcher.  The burger is sold at the Red Porch Restaurant, located in the Center Field Plaza of Nationals Park.  It almost makes too much sense: hungry fans can eat a Strasburger while watching Strasburg.

So far so good… except… the StrasBurger weighs in at EIGHT POUNDS.  It consists of a virtual buffet of ground brisket, chuck and short ribs, topped with an unidentified “special sauce” and a smorgasbord of condiments – and, of course, it’s complimented by a basket of french fries and a pitcher of a soft drink.  When served, the StrasBurger weighs about as much as 32 Quarter Pounders and slightly more than the average newborn baby.

Prepare to be surprised: the StrasBurger is a pretty darn unhealthy dish.  Colleen Greg, a Registered Dietitian who specializes in adult and pediatric weight management and cardiovascular nutrition, provided NBC Washington with the following breakdown:

the StrasBurger is somewhere between 8,000-10,000 calories, packs 600-700 grams of fat, 200-300 grams of saturated fat and 2,500-3,000 milligrams of sodium. It seems that the Nationals are advertising the burger as something to be shared, but even then, it still packs a wallop….  If the burger is split four ways, each person’s portion would therefore be at least 2,000 calories, 150 grams of fat, 50 grams saturated fat and 625 mg of sodium… All of these are higher than what many, if not most, people need in an entire DAY, except for sodium.

What ever happened to peanuts and Cracker Jacks?

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FOOD FACTS: we really don’t eat 29 pounds of french fries per year…. do we?

Mark Twain and Benjamin Disraeli denounced the use of statistics to support weak or illusory arguments.  Not surprisingly, I’m not nearly as smart as either Mr. Twain or British Prime Minister Disraeli.   I’m therefore going to celebrate the quantitative joy of using statistics to set forth a few fun facts for a Friday afternoon:

  • The typical person consumes 195.2 pounds of meat per year, or a little more than the weight of the average adult male.  This is 50 pounds more than the average person consumed on an annual basis just fifty years ago.
  • The average American now consumes approximately 2700 calories per day.  Forty years ago, the average American consumed 2200 calories, which is almost 25 percent less than contemporary figures.
  • Around fifty years ago, the average female weighed 140.2 pounds.  The average weight of women is now 164.3 pounds.
  • Also, fifty years ago, the average male weighted around 166.3 pounds.  Today, the average man’s weight is 191 pounds.
  • Not surprisingly, over 34 percent of adult men and women are now overweight.  An additional 40 percent of adult men and women are obese.

One final statistic: reading 50% of the posts on this blog will make you 33% smarter than 23% of the population… most of the time.

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RUTHLESS RECIPES: an updated list of the top five worst fast food breakfasts

In 1973, McDonald’s first introduced its Egg McMuffin.  The sandwich consisted of an egg, a slice of ham and cheese served on a toasted english muffin.  The company later added a full slate of breakfast foods to its growing menu.  As early as 1987, the red-headed clown served nearly one-fourth of all breakfasts ordered from restaurants in the United States.

Now, over forty years later, Taco Bell is rolling out its new First Meal line of early-morning offerings and Wendy’s will soon be expanding its breakfast menu.  Other fast food chains are also beginning to place a similar emphasis on the market for breakfast.

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but that doesn’t mean that the fast food chains are exclusively offering decent, healthy foods.  Shocker, eh?  Well, the following meals are particularly atrocious:

SUBWAY’S FOOTLONG MEGA BREAKFAST SANDWICHJared Fogle tipped the scales at 425 pounds, but lost over half of his weight by eating nothing but Subway sandwiches for a little less than a year.  The fast food chain capitalized on his weight loss by hiring him as a spokesman for the company, and Jared has now appeared in around twenty commercials touting the healthy benefits of Subway’s offerings.  You won’t hear him say a word about Subway’s Footlong Mega Breakfast Sandwich.  The freakish combination of eggs, bacon and sausage weighs in at 1,310 calories and contains 79 grams of fat, 31 grams of saturated fat, 550 milligrams of cholesterol and an absurd 3,190 milligrams of sodium.  It’s closely followed by the Footlong Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich, which lightens the load by around 100 calories and 370 milligrams of sodium.  Jared is ashamed.

MCDONALD’S BIG BREAKFAST WITH HOT CAKES.  Eating McDonald’s Big Breakfast with Hot Cakes will lead to a big belly, the need for big clothes and big risks to your health.  The offering is a dangerous combination of two pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage… and a buttermilk biscuit… and hash browns.  The company has somehow managed to pack 1,090 calories into the meal, which fittingly compliments its 56 grams of fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 575 milligrams of cholesterol and 2,150 milligrams of sodium.  Do yourself a favor and eat scrap metal instead – the hardware may not be as flavorful, but it should prove to be a much healthier alternative.

BURGER KING’S BK ULTIMATE BREAKFAST PLATTERBurger King‘s sales have been slipping.  It’s same-store sales are down nearly 4%, and analysts predict that it will now trail both McDonald’s and Wendy’s in gross sales.  It gets an “A” for effort, though, as its BK Ultimate Breakfast Platter somehow manages to dwarf McDonald’s Big Breakfast with Hotcakes.  The chain is almost inexplicably able to fill a plate with scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, a biscuit and three pancakes.   The resulting mess contains over 1300 calories, 72 grams of fat, 26 grams of saturated fat, 455 milligrams or cholesterol and 2,490 milligrams of sodium.  The chain was even thoughtful enough to include a bit of trans fat in the mix.

CINNABON’S CARAMEL PECANBON.   I feel a little guilty about including this entry, because any franchise that believes that Life Needs Frosting probably isn’t the mecca of health.   This is almost like shooting fish in a barrel, except that one of the fish is really a Caramel Pecanbon that somehow packs in nearly 1,000 calories and almost a full day’s worth of total fatOkay, I don’t feel guilty anymore.

HARDEE’S COUNTRY FRIED STEAK ‘N’ GRAVY BREAKFAST PLATTER.  Earlier this month, Hardee’s proudly announced that it would begin offering its Country Fried Steak ‘N’ Gravy Breakfast Platter, a four piece meal includes a breaded beefsteak smothered in sausage gravy, hash rounds, eggs and a buttermilk biscuit.  The combination isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, but still provides a hefty 660 calories, derives nearly three-fourths of its calories from 42 grams of fat and 13 grams of saturated fat and includes nearly a full day’s worth of sodium.  The company accurately describes the assemblage as a “stick-to-your-ribs breakfast staple,” that also  continues the franchise’s “fine tradition at breakfast.”  The second quote may be spot-on, but only if that tradition includes its Big Country Breakfast Platter with Bacon, Syrup, Jam and Butter and the gut bomb that it refers to as its Loaded Breakfast Burrito.

On a somewhat related note, yesterday was National Blueberry Pancake Day and tomorrow marks the celebration of National Croissant Day.  Read into that whatever you will…

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