AMA Labels Obesity A Disease As Texas Rates Continue To Rise | KERA News

AMA Labels Obesity A Disease As Texas Rates Continue To Rise

Jun 20, 2013

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A look at afflicted Texans now that obesity is now considered a disease, why more oil doesn’t always mean cheaper prices at the pump, memorabilia collecting Aggie fans make way for Barbie and more.

After a vote this week by its delegates, the American Medical Association now considers obesity a disease. AMA leaders hope labeling obesity a medical condition might add urgency to the battle against it. We already know that 60 percent of people in the U.S. are considered at least overweight, but a state-by-state breakdown shows that Texas is losing ground when it comes to fighting obesity.

In 1990, every U.S. state had an obesity rate range of either 15 to 19 percent or 20 to 24 percent. In 2009 when the rates were measured again, nearly every state jumped into a higher category, Texas included. The Lone Star State rate moved up to 25 to 29 percent. So why are we seeing such rapid and steady increase? NPR offers a few hypotheses.

Portion size is ballooning, for one. In 1950, movie-theater popcorn servings were about three cups at 174 calories. In 2004, the standard size was 21 cups. Buttered, that comes out to 1,700 calories. Fast food sales are up, sugar consumption is on the rise, people are drinking less milk and eating fewer eggs but are consuming more beef, pork and cheese. To see all the stats, click here.

  • Cruz On Citizenship: Ted Cruz, Texas’ notable tea-partier and freshman U.S. Senator has a lot of say about immigration. And he says his views and opinions were shaped by someone very close to him: his father. As the Senate debates an immigration overhaul Cruz has spoken out against a path to citizenship for those living in America unlawfully. "In my opinion, if we allow those who are here illegally to be put on a path to citizenship, that is incredibly unfair to those who follow the rules," Cruz says. The elder Cruz, Rafael Bienvenido says while still living in Cuba he fought against U.S.-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista. He was jailed and beaten and after being released applied to the University of Texas and came to America on a student Visa. [NPR]

  • Senate Will Zero In On West Explosion, U.S. Standards: A week from today, the explosion that rocked West, killing 15 people and destroying dozens of homes, will be under the microscope in Washington. Sen. Barbara Boxer called for the hearing yesterday. The Dallas Morning News reports that Boxer wants to look at West as well as the chemical plant explosion in Louisiana earlier this month that killed two people and injured more than 100. Boxer chairs the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee and has suggested there may be a need to review national standards about how dangerous chemicals are stored and handled.
  • Why Does More Oil Mean Pricey Gas?: With domestic drilling up and national reserves growing, our oil supply is looking good. Stir in the fact that more people are driving fuel efficient cars, and we should have a recipe for cheaper gas prices, right? While that may seem logical, experts say gas prices have stayed stubbornly high this summer, and at least one family owned fuel company in Texas is baffled. "I'm actually quite dumbfounded," says Azam Zakaria, vice president of Lone Star Petroleum in Houston. "Just to be blunt with you, I think that it's a commodity now that is being exchanged at Wall Street.” Zakaria is worried that speculators are pushing up prices beyond typical supply and demand. [KUHF]
  • This Texas A&M Ken Doll is now for sale.
    Credit The Barbie Collection

    Aggie Pride In A Barbie World: It may not have the nostalgia of a megaphone or the kitsch cuteness of an Aggie bobblehead, but the Texas A&M Ken Doll might just take the cake, memorabilia-wise. A maroon-and-white clad yell leader has been forever immortalized in plastic thanks to the Barbie Collection. So if you just can’t wait for that rush of Aggie pride you get when Johnny football and company take the field and the fight song fills the stadium, well, you can re-create it at home, on a much smaller scale, for just $24.95.