SUMMARY: Lots of trials, classes, and intense practice help one's weight and health, plus save unwanted dogs and improve the economy.From UBA HR Elements, July 2010:
OBESITY RATES SWELL
Twenty-eight states saw their obesity rates rise in the past year, according to research by the Trust for America's Health. Mississippi had the highest rank for a sixth year in a row -- with 33.8 percent of the adult population rated obese -- followed by Alabama and Tennessee (both 31.6 percent). Nearly all the top 10 states were in the South. The healthiest states were concentrated in the Northeast and West. Colorado had the lowest obesity rate at 19.1 percent.
Scary. But Colorado rocks! (I wonder if that's why they call them the Rockies?) California is just 9 places higher than Colorado. I found that info by browsing around and following links on the Trust for America's Health site.
I know that my weight is more stable--or even dropping--when i'm doing a lot of agility. And, although there are overweight or obese people in agility (Full disclosure: I'm on the borderline of the BMI "overweight" category), there aren't many, and it seems to me that there is a much larger proportion of obviously ideally-weighted people than you'd find at your average shopping center.
Plus those who do carry extra pounds I'm willing to bet are much more healthy than those of the same weight who don't. I've been reading plenty of research lately that says that's the case (no surprise): Overweight people who exercise are healthier than overweight people who don't. (Too busy to find the links right now... sorry..)
So, to solve the obesity problem: Everyone in those southern states should take up dog agility! It would find homes for all those millions of dogs currently in shelters or foster homes (or being euthanized) and pour money into the economy for all those vendors and judges and agility sites and equipment manufacturers, who would then spend it on other goods and services--so we could fix the economy, too!
I'm sure there are many other similar large-scale benefits like that.