The Front Porch: What's Making Appalachia Fat?

Jun 2, 2015

Only Mississippi has a worse rate of obesity than West Virginia.
Credit CDC

A recent Gallup-Healthways survey ranked West Virginia as the second-most obese state in America (thank God for Mississippi!) One in three West Virginians is obese.

This week on The Front Porch, we debate what’s making Appalachia fat, and what can be done about it.

Rick Wilson of the American Friends Service Committee blames aggressive marketing of sugar, salt and fat by big corporations.

Laurie Lin of the Charleston Daily Mail thinks the government plays a big part, through subsidies to Big Sugar and the unintended consequences of pushing a “low-fat” diet.

Should we prevent people receiving food stamps from buying fat, sugary foods? You might be surprised by what our panelists think.

We also discuss many of the grassroots efforts trying to deal with the epidemic, including “Try This, West Virginia,” whose statewide conference is this week in Buckhannon.

Check out Laurie Lin's column on nutrition science from the Charleston Daily Mail, the article on food stamps she mentioned from the Washington Post, and the book she recommended by Gary Taubes, "Why We Get Fat."

P.S. Despite what Scott says in the podcast, "Tudor's Biscuit World" is not our new underwriter.

Subscribe to "The Front Porch" podcast on iTunes or however you listen to podcasts.

An edited version of “The Front Porch” airs Fridays at 4:50 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s radio network, and the full version is available above.

Share your opinions with us about these issues, and let us know what you'd like us to discuss in the future. Send a tweet to @radiofinn or @wvpublicnews, or e-mail Scott at sfinn @ wvpublic.org