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Posted on Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

Michigan is 10th fattest state in nation, report finds

By Juliana Keeping

More Michiganders are heavier than ever before, with nearly a third of adults who are obese, according to a study released today.

The Detroit Free Press reports that 3 in 10 Michigan adults — 30.5 percent — are obese, compared with 17.5 percent of adults in 1995, a 77 percent increase.

That’s according to the report F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011, an initiative of the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Michigan is the 10th fattest state in the nation, and the only northern state to make the top 10, the Free Press reports.

Juliana Keeping covers general assignment and health and the environment for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter.



Sat, Jul 9, 2011 : 4:08 a.m.

Obesity is a global problem and may need a different approach. There are a number of diet/exercise plans and they are not working. Some of the plans could be expensive. We may not be able to force people to exercise more. By telling people to eat less or to eat in moderation is not changing their eating behavior. People are not apparently deriving the satisfaction from eating food and have to consume more to feel a sense of contentment. It is our attitude towards food that shapes the outcome of our eating. Food functions to give nutrition, happiness, and promotes social bonding. We need to seek a healthy relationship with the food we eat. A relationship based upon feelings, and sympathy would enhance the emotional satisfaction in the relationship. While eating food, eat with a sense of gratitude and appreciate the sympathy and compassion of the ultimate food provider and such attitude while eating gives a sense of satiety and we need not count the calories we consume.

Sofia Toti

Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

Boy, there are some very hostile folks here. I've noticed the people using the electric carts are beyond fat, well into morbidly obese. It's sad; however, @ that point, moving oneself is risky. I'll bet the stores that provide the carts are thinking of liability issues. Let's face it; their money is just as green as anybody else's. The people calling for command-&-control measures to deal w/ other people's weight would probably like to see beggars in the streets (where they could be arrested for loitering & locked away forever in our already overcrowded jails & prisons) rather than spend a dime on research aimed @ finding solutions that will stick. (I know, healthy diet, plenty of exercise keep us in good shape; I'm talking about getting to that point.)


Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 6:08 p.m.

You don't really notice how grotesquely overweight Michiganders are until you fly to the coasts. It is no wonder employers won't locate businesses to Michigan. Obesity is a strong indicator of deeper problems that no employer in his/her right mind would want. Laziness, depression and high health care costs are not attributes in a work force that will lure new jobs to Michigan. We need legislation to remove the electric carts and handicapped parking spaces from grocery stores. It is high time the waddlers got more exercise. Let's create a progressive income tax based on BMI. There are endless ways we can create better punishment/reward structures for the obese.


Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 10:17 p.m.

It's difficult to admit, but you are right. I live on the East Coast now, after having lived my whole life in Michigan. Each year I come back to Michigan to visit, and it's hard not to notice how large in general, Michiganians are compared to people on the East Coast. Michigan more so than many places on the coast, is obsessed with the car culture. The result has been poorly developed and maintained urban centers, sprawl, poor public transportation systems, and development which does not give appropriate consideration to pedestrians, cyclists, and various modes of public transportation.


Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.

If this isn't an argument for more bike lanes and cyclist's rights, I don't know what is.


Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

If we market it right, this could be great news for our state: phat –adjective Slang . great; wonderful; terrific. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 2:20 a.m.

What are the statistics regarding soft drinks in schools? What about physical education hours for elementary students? I don't know how Mich compares on these issues But it seems that the habits might start young. Could we inspire change by getting healthier food into the poor neighborhoods? I would encourage a ban on the worst of the fast foods, even in this Land of The Free. McDonalds has some healthy choices so we might not need to ban an entire brand. Limiting freedom of choice protects people from themselves though some would give a slippery slope argument against the idea. I would argue that we all pay, eventually, for the ramifications of rampant obesity and that we can't afford to let the soda pop and fast food companies to get rich at our expense.

Jake C

Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 4:11 a.m.

Sorry, with school budgets being slashed across the state, the only hope of keeping teachers employed is to partner with McDonalds and Pepsi as official sponsors of Lunch and Recess and Second Lunch!


Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 2:49 a.m.

Phys ed is over now, unless it is part of a standardized test.


Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

Well, we used to be the &quot;motor capital&quot; of the world. I haven't found it yet, but somewhere in Michigan law there's a clause that says &quot;Every person shall use a motor vehicle to travel more than 10 steps. Any person not using a motor vehicle shall be guilty of not being Michigan enough, and may be treated rudely and dangerously by anyone using a motorized conveyance.&quot; Here's a study linking sprawl development and obesity: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Live somewhere where it's hard to walk or bike, and you're more likely to pack on the pounds.


Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 1:39 a.m.

Someone pass me a doughnut

John of Saline

Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 2:14 a.m.

No way. These are mine. Get your own.


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 11:29 p.m.

Congratulations! Y'all are catching up with us Southerners. If you don't mind a lifetime (shorter though it may be) of heart disease and diabetes, it's not so bad. The food is great. Just make sure you grab a pack of smokes while you're out getting that bucket of extra crispy. Now that's livin'.


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 10:49 p.m.

Sad statistics. Michigan residents need to diet and exercise more. I think a lot has to do with fast food restaurant saturation and the distribution of high-calorie and high-fat content from those eateries.


Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

Surprisingly, the best diet food I had was Mcdonald's southern style chicken sandwich combo, every time I had that I ate the least calories that day and the next for the week....

David Briegel

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

Come on, everyone knows this is the result of the Michelle Obama Conspiracy coming to a fat fruition!

John of Saline

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

You know, I'm tired of seeing the non-disabled use those supermarket electric carts at Meijer, etc. Has anyone else noticed that trend? The fat seem to use them just because they're fat. This is just a guess, but maybe if they'd WALK into the store, they'd be a bit better off. Using electric runabouts to fill your cart with bacon and Twinkies seems like a vicious cycle.


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 11:31 p.m.

Been saying that for years. And why must they take up the whole aisle? Can't they pick a side so the rest of us can get by?


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

hmm...that reminds me of the fat, lazy people in WALL-E

John of Saline

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 8:46 p.m.

Maybe Michiganders need to walk their dogs more. (On leashes, of course.)


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

Those southern states took over because all of our obese people are leaving for greener pastures.

Not from around here

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

Better grazing?

Not from around here

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 7:29 p.m.

I think that why we live here. Winter snow brings out the parkas so no one really know if your fat or not until spring. Thaats why I could never live in Florida, you have to stay in shape year round.


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 10:04 p.m.

Plus with the cold weather we gotta have some body fat to keep us warm.


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

We're improving! In 2009 Michigan was the 9th fattest state and I recall Michigan being ranked 2nd fattest, behind Texas, way back in the 80's.


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 8:51 p.m.

Actually, it turns out we're getting fatter. The other states are just getting fatter faster.

Not from around here

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

We're loosing to texas! Come one people, we can gain back our top spot!


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 6:56 p.m.

Face facts fat folks, we're a state that loves to eat and sit around.


Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 5:08 p.m.

Maybe you do Smokeblower, some of us exercise. So sitting around, eating and getting fat, is that &quot;an Ann Arbor thing for Ann Arborites&quot;?

Not from around here

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

You have to do something while watching the Lions lose.


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 6:52 p.m.

Great lifetime welfare? High unemployment? Heavily unionized (no pun intended)? Well Doctor, there seems to be a corrolation there! LOL!


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

Certainly NOT a top 10 ranking to be proud of. I was just in Europe (not the British Isles that have similar obesity rates as the U.S.) and I saw A LOT less obese and overweight people. Several things I noticed..... They don't have nearly the number of fast food restaurants there. Here there are clusters of them at every intersection. People walk and bike places much more in general. I saw very few pop machines. Here in the U.S. they're absolutely everywhere. Restaurant portions are reasonable - not the amount 2 or 3 people can eat. Not completely sure, but I think people eat more freshly prepared food in Europe and not as much processed foods. But in the end, keeping weight under control is about burning more calories, eating better quality foods, and consuming less calories.

Not from around here

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

I just goes to prove with a little state pride and effort Michigan can once again claim a top 10 spot in some poll. Now if evveryone would join me in adding a couple of pasties a week to there diet, along with the occasional bottle of vernors and a Venson steak or two, we can make it to number one!


Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 2:11 a.m.

Not sure what a &quot;Venson&quot; steak is, but if you meant venison steak, it's going to take a lot more than a steak or two to make a difference. A porterhouse or T-bone from grain-fed cattle might pack on some pounds, but grass-fed cattle and deer are pretty lean meats. A fast-food greaseburger or two might do the trick, though. ... And if you know about pasties, you are now officially from around here.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 6:42 p.m.

Woooo. I'm having ice cream for dinner tonight now.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

I'll do my more &quot;lite&quot; in my beer.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

So, is that east-to-west? Or are you talking about the residents of the state? Good Night and Good Grief

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

I wonder if it is because Michigan is the only state that protects workers from being fired for being overweight?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

@sh1 I admit that I have not examined the laws of the other 49 states but if you would like to provide an example of a U.S. state that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of weight, please do. The article you cited does say that there are others but then only gives Michigan as an example along with Washington DC.


Fri, Jul 8, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

Be careful using the word &quot;only.&quot; It is one of a few: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

I do not condone discrimination of any kind. All people have the right to work, no matter what they look like...but there are some jobs that people over a certain weight can't do because of safety reasons. I know someone who works for a local cable company and they have an unsaid weight limit because there is a weight limit for the ladders. If you can't safely use the ladders then you can't do that job. Anyways, I was just thinking that in some cases a person who is overweight can rightly lose a job.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 6:41 p.m.

@Craig -- Michigan clearly has a law that protects people from being discriminated against because of their weight. I recall hearing during that whole Hooters incident that Michigan was the only state with such a protection. @NotFromAroundHere -- Employers fire people illegally all of the time because they know that such cases can be difficult to prove.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

ELLIOTT-LARSEN CIVIL RIGHTS ACT (EXCERPT) Act 453 of 1976 37.2102 Recognition and declaration of civil right; action arising out of discrimination based on sex or familial status. Sec. 102. (1) The opportunity to obtain employment, housing and other real estate, and the full and equal utilization of public accommodations, public service, and educational facilities without discrimination because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status as prohibited by this act, is recognized and declared to be a civil right. (2) This section shall not be construed to prevent an individual from bringing or continuing an action arising out of sex discrimination before July 18, 1980 which action is based on conduct similar to or identical to harassment. (3) This section shall not be construed to prevent an individual from bringing or continuing an action arising out of discrimination based on familial status before the effective date of the amendatory act that added this subsection which action is based on conduct similar to or identical to discrimination because of the age of persons residing with the individual bringing or continuing the action.

Not from around here

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 5:58 p.m.

Not true. I had the boss tell me I was too fat right before he fired me and he got away with it with the corporate honchos.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

Is that true? I didn't know that.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

WE'RE #10!!!!!!!!! Now lots all go eat a few more so we can crack the top 5