Editorial Roundup: Alabama

Dothan Eagle. September 24, 2022.

Editorial: Fighting obesity

Several years prior to the reversion of Hong Kong to Chinese control, a group of Alabamians traveled there as part of an exchange between Rotary International District 6880 (the Southern half of Alabama) and the Rotary District that includes Hong Kong and Macau. Seated around a table featuring a sumptuous array of Chinese dishes at a dinner function one evening, one of the Alabama delegation shared a tidbit from childhood in the South.

“My mother would always tell us to clean our plates because there were starving children in China,” the Alabamian said. The Asian counterpart howled with delight. “My mother said the same thing,” he exclaimed, “except she said there were starving children in America!”

While there are surely starving children in every nation, the United States is struggling with a different nutritional challenge – childhood obesity.

With regard to overweight children, Alabama is particularly fraught; with an obesity rate of 21.8 among children aged 10 to 17, our state ranks fifth-highest in the nation.

Today’s edition features an in-depth look at the challenges of childhood obesity across the nation and across the state.

Experts suggest that some of the factors contributing to Alabama’s high rate include poverty, bad eating habits, and – curiously — Southern culture and climate, a circumstance illustrated by a swath of higher incidence across the Southern tier of states.

Readers of today’s package of reporting will find that the issue is complex with many moving parts – some are simply common sense, while others may be surprising.

And the solution – eating reasonable portions of foods with high nutritional value – can be more elusive that one might think.

Mothers around the globe may well beseech their children to clean their plates. Whether that’s the wisest move depends on what goes on them.