W.Va. Town Is Nation's Tubbiest

Economic troubles, lifestyle traditions distract from rampant obesity
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2008 2:34 PM CST
Southern states tend to be more obese, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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(Newser) – Dietary tradition helps make Huntington, W.Va., the nation's most obese and unhealthy city, the AP reports. The five-county area, where poverty rates are high, boasts many pizza and hot dog joints—but Huntington's mayor will not follow the lead of New York City and ban trans fats in restaurants. "We want as much business as we can have here," said Mayor David Felinton, who underwent stomach surgery last year to lose weight.

Half of the area’s adults are obese, a new report says, and Huntington claims the country’s highest levels of diabetes and heart disease. Local doctors say they try to encourage better eating habits and exercise, but face an uphill battle. "People here have an attitude of 'You're not going to tell me what I can eat,'" one health official said. "The cultural attitude is 'My parents ate that and my grandparents ate that.'"