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America's porkiest cities: Where Michelle Obama can start fighting fat and obesity

March 2, 2010 |  2:57 pm


First Lady Michelle Obama has launched a hopeless fight against American obesity with a program called "Let's Move."

No, not "Let's Move On to Dessert."

She goes to Mississippi Wednesday to fight fat and will be coming to a town near you soon to admirably promote healthier eating and more exercise, especially for youngsters. Trying to convince Americans that carrot cake is not a veggie should keep her plate full for however many presidential terms her pie-loving, cigarette-smoking husband wins.Michelle Obama getting off Air Force One in 2009

But now the Gallup Poll has helpfully come out with a study of 187 metropolitan areas across the country.

They looked at something called the Body Mass Index, which measures height and other numbers you don't want to know to decide if you -- yes, you reading this right now -- are officially obese.

The Officially Obesest Cities are a tie, ladies and gentlemen. Montgomery, Alabama and Stockton, California. Cake all around for everyone.

They came out with a 34.6% number of adults rated as obese. Ugh. That sounds awful, doesn't it? At least until you figure out your own obesity level based on Body Mass Index which, frankly, we intend to do sometime next weekend, probably.

That 34.6% of adults is way larger than the not-all-that-good-either-national-average of 26.5. That BMI poundage rate is like the unemployment rates these days, up from 2008's, at  25.5. (BTW, a BMI of 30 is officially obese; more than 25 is getting close.)

And here's the best part for any online readers munching a snack right now:

Those hoity-toity, glamorous, arrogant Californians who are always escaping the blizzards and complaining about freezing 50-degree temperatures cutting down their winter beach time, come off really, really badly.

All that bikini rollerblading you see in the TV shows apparently hasn't caught on for real.

Three of the nation's Top Ten grossest-fattest-lardiest metropolitan areas are in the Golden state, which should really be named for a species of french fry.

Visalia/Porterville comes in third place at 34.1%. And good old-boy Bakersfield comes in seventh at 33.6% of obese adults.

The York/Hanover area of tubby Pennsylvania comes in fourth at 34, followed by fatty Flint, Michigan at 33.9.

McAllen, Edinburg and Mission, Texas share the No. 6 spot with 33.7.

No. 8 is limping Lynchburg, Virginia at 33, the same as the Huntington/Ashland area of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.

Weighing in at No. 10 is the Kingsport/Bristol area of Tennessee/Virginia.

The survey found some common characteristics to the ten tubbiest towns: 

In none of them except Stockton (51%) do a majority claim to exercise frequently, not counting raising forks and spoons to the mouth area.

Nowhere do more than 62% admit to eating vegetables frequently.

And the smokers range from Visalia's 15.7% up to Lynchburg's 31.7%.

Somewhere, it must be dinner time.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Associated Press (Obama debarking Air Force One summer 2009).