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MNB had a story yesterday about how the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is out with a new report saying that every state in the country falls short of official recommendations for daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, with only one-third of adults eating enough fruit and 27 percent eating enough vegetables.

A state-by-state analysis showed that all the states where eating habits are better are either New England, Middle Atlantic or western states…and most of the ones with the worst kind of nutritional deficits in their diets were southern states. (I mistakenly wrote yesterday that they were “south of the Mason Dixon line,” but that was incorrect.)

I also noted that it was interesting that seven of the 10 states with poor consumption of fruits and vegetables are so-called Red States, while eight of the 10 states with highest fruit and vegetable consumption are so-called Blue States.

I wonder what would happen if you graphed out the political opinions in each of these states when it comes to public policy about the treatment of obesity issues, especially childhood obesity. Would the states with the worst record in terms of fruit and vegetable consumption be the most negative about a legislative or regulatory approach to obesity? And, conversely, would the states with the best numbers be more in favor of public policies that promote better eating habits? And where would these states come out when it comes to changed approaches to the health care bureaucracy?

One MNB user replied:

I'm betting that you'll get quite a number of replies from readers on the whole "Red State / Blue State" observation. I imagine that the correlation is strong between socioeconomic measures such as education levels and/or income levels and the consumption of fruits and veggies.

MNB user Philip Herr wrote:

While the Red State-Blue State dichotomy may fit the issue, it is probably more to do with poverty and affluence. There is more poverty in the south.

Another MNB user wrote:

The article on obesity in America and the splits among so-called red and blue states, and as a follow-on, whether these results might be fodder to seed something akin to anti-red-state legislation on this front: something tells me that your speculation that, generally speaking, people in the more-numerous obese red states would object to anti obesity legislation, and similarly, that people in the less-numerous obese blue states would support such legislation, is likely right on. The obese red staters wouldn't want to be "put upon" by outsiders they likely consider sanctimonious blue staters, and by the same token, these same blue staters might well love the opportunity to do exactly that, that is, "put it upon" their obese red state brethren. Assuming all the while, of course, that they themselves (the blue staters) would largely be exempt from such new rules since, ostensibly, their states aren't where the real obesity problem in America actually is!

But wait! The report does say that, while there is this somewhat better blue state obesity performance than there is red state obesity performance, all 50 states still did fail the assessment! Some (the blue) did certainly do better than others (the red), but no state actually passed! It would be interesting to me, therefore, to try & imagine how a seemingly well-meaning, but unfortunately NIMBY-obsessed, blue stater might still try to spin these CDC results in order to "put it on" the obese red states, all the while keeping the Feds' sometimes overly intrusive hands off their own states.

And MNB user Bob Anderson wrote:

Gee, Kevin, your regional elitism is showing. Your linkage of this issue to political view or a stance on the national Healthcare coverage debate is inappropriate.

A more appropriate correlation is rural vs. urban nature of the population in the states cited as best and worst. Or even better, how about Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement rates for the best and worst states.

What you will find is that the worst states are definitely more rural than the best. They have lower Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement rates and have a larger proportion of older Americans, and have a significantly lower family income.

Several recent studies have reported that eating healthy food costs more than not eating healthy foods. When the pocket book is small, you are elderly, limited mobility and live some distance from a grocery store of any size, it very difficult to eat healthy. I can cite numerous communities in the worst states where the availability of Healthy Food Sources is very similar to the availability is large urban center town areas, i.e. LA, NYC, Chicago.

Keep politics out of the discussion. Health of rural people is a serious issue. When the only health service provider in the county is the elderly Pharmacist and the nearest doctor is in the next county 20 or 30 miles away, it is hard to think about eating healthy.

I don't think I was being elitist. I was just pointing out something that seemed fairly obvious…and, quite honestly, I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of responses it would generate.

I wasn't disappointed.

And if you think I was being political, you should have seen the emails suggesting that the lack of good nutrition was why red staters vote the way they do. (I’m just reporting here…don't shoot the messenger!)

Regarding Jim Donald’s decision to become CEO at Haggen, MNB user Don Reynolds wrote:

What a great move for Haggen's.

Jim started his career at Albertsons under, I believe, Warren Mc Cain, who has provided our industry with many fine executives … These managers know how that success in the grocery business starts at the store level where you earn a profit not in the accounting department where you save a profit … The old Albertsons has produced more fine professionals for the grocery business then any organization I can call to mind, and I have working in the industry for over 50 years.

Another MNB user wrote:

The Haggen brand is positioned somewhere between New Seasons and Safeway (kinda no-man’s land). It will be interesting to see if he repositions the company or redefines the market.

And MNB user Lindy Bannister wrote:

Wow, how great to see Jim Donald in a good place again. I worked for him many years ago at Albertsons when Joe was still alive. He was known then and admired for his knowledge and ability to connect with people. Few people carry that throughout their careers, but Jim has a loyal following watching him succeed at it. I wish him all the best.
KC's View: