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Why Is the South So Heavy?

Written by PETA | August 1, 2008
speedysigns / CC

Fried chicken, fried shrimp, fried fish, chicken-fried steak … seeing a pattern here? A recent study shows that good ol’ Southern-style, high-calorie, high-fat, meat-filled dishes are why the U.S.’ Southern states are the nation’s most obese. Lordy, y’all! Let’s have us some massive amounts of deep-fried animal flesh!

Is your state one of the most obese? The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced that the top 10 most obese states are Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, West Virginia, Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and Oklahoma.

In an effort to combat soaring obesity rates, PETA has sent a letter to the governor of each of the above-mentioned states with an easy solution: Simply promote a vegetarian lifestyle and encourage more vegetarian options within their respective states. Easy as pumpkin pie.

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  • erika says:

    wow that is sad… my colesterol sp? just went up 10 points.

  • ian says:

    It really depends on where you go. Outside alot of the more “urban” areas it’s pretty redneck. I worked in alot of these areas when I first moved down and it was a huge turn off especially being new to the state of NC. Anyway not everyone is like that but people down here LOVE their pork…no denying that.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Lana you said “I have accept the fact that humans are natural carnivores.” We are not natural or obligate carnivores such as tiger or lions. Most presentday humans are de facto omnivores. Read The Comparative Anatomy of Eating by Milton R. Mills M.D. to help you decide what we are. httpwww.earthsave.caarticleshealthcomparative.html

  • Kaitie says:

    My parents just came back from visiting Tennessee. All they talked about was how nice the people were yet they were ALL overweight. On top of that they went on and on about how everything they ordered was in SUCH LARGE portions LOTS of MEAT LOTS of FRIED foods and gravy on top of EVERYTHING. I can feel my arteries clogging just thinking about it. I’m going to go snack on some of my Jersey tomatoes now to forget about it!

  • Amanda Leigh says:

    I am one of the southern people ya’ll are bashing. I do agree with the ‘southern cooking’ concept for I grew up with the poor diet of deep fried food and meat heavy meals. I knew no other way at the time for that’s what we find in restaurants as well. I am a vegeterian now and I pray that I can reverse all the negativity my body received from this awful diet. However I don’t appreciate the bashing of us “good ‘ol southern folks”. Not all of us are bad. As for the statement of how we treat our animals North Carolina…do NOT group me in that! I don’t see North Carolina having an excessive difference in animal cruelty compared to any other state. All types of people abuse animals posh superstars to middle class workers. “Yankees” along with the “Rednecks”… I don’t think it matters where you come from or where you live. Animal cruelty is animal cruelty. It shouldn’t matter which state has more or less of it. It shouldn’t happen AT ALL! I encourage the letter PETA sent about adopting a healthier lifestyle. A lot of people grew up like me not knowing any different and eating awful. I blame my parents for making me obese as a child by being ignorant to the appropriate foods. Kudos to PETA for trying to help the “fatter” states! I wish someone would have informed me a long time ago. The negativity I get from people everyday about my vegetarian choice leaves me baffled. They just don’t understand. It’s not because all of us “southern folks” are stupid though! Ignorance and stupidity are two seperate things and I wish PETA the best of luck in their attempt to show people better ways of life.

  • Chris says:

    I am also from Texas. True obesity is predominant in the South southern cooking with lots of meat and heavy foods is a huge factor. But you are so right the CRITICIZING tone of some people toward southern traditions and DIALECT win NO ONE over to healthier living. What a bland world it would be without southern lingo. I LOVE my parents’ rich funny way of talkin’ about the world. It’s great making Daddy vegetarian chili and him none the wiser! We have to give ALTERNATIVES I grew up on that food and it was yummy. There are lots of vegetarians where I live and we just give our fellow southerners new ideas leaving criticism behind!

  • Crystal says:

    I think it is great that PETA is trying to enlighten the south I live in Florida by the way. But I think PETA should come to the aid of Native Americans which are suffering from obesity and diabetes. The fattening diet which most have embraced is killing them. Seems the white man has found a way to make them suffer more then they already have. So sad.. A vegan diet would work wonders..

  • aaron says:


  • Amy says:

    I get so tired of hearing people from northern states stereotyping southern people as fat ignorant fools. I’m from Texas and I must say that I don’t even know anyone who speaks or acts like that. It’s just another case of judging something you know nothing about. “Lordy ya’ll. Let’s have us some massive amounts of deepfried animal flesh!” Really!? Please!

  • Charlene says:

    Moving to Alabama from Connecticut was quite a culture shock. Moving from the North you never really “fit in”. Being vegan well you might as well be from the moon. These people who can quote the Bible and whose first sentence upon meeting you for the first time when you move down here is Hi where ya’ll from and what church do you go to?” should practice what they preach. All animals are God’s creation and deserve to be treated with the same respect that these Southerners themselves want. I’m tired of hearing “it’s just a dog or it’s just a chicken”. The only thing I can say is whenever you can push your beliefs watch for abused animals and do what you can to help them whether it’s teaching someone about cooking the “vegetarian” way or making a big scene when you find a dog locked in a car at Walmart. Maybe someday the South will get their heads out of 50’s leave the Andy Griffith Show back on the archive shelves and realize that the times have changed. Even if the South cooks vegetables they’re fried. Yup the South is fat and most but not all are closeminded about animals so I guess I’m glad I don’t “fit it”.

  • Lana says:

    Carter is right. I believe the main reason why vegans have a bad rap is because of criticism. I’m currently a lactovegetarian and am trying to make the step to veganism. It hurts me to see other Americans treating animals the way they do but I have accept the fact that humans are natural carnivores. We can do our best to end animal endangerment and influence our beliefs but criticizing is unnecessary.

  • Lioness says:

    I agree with you Carter. By the way people don’t get fat from eating meat. It’s eating too much meat and not getting any exercise that makes them fat. Plus you can get fat if you eat too many fruits and vegetables and don’t get any exercise. The same holds true for junk food. Switching to vegetarian and vegan diets aren’t enough to help people lose weight. You have to plan them carefully and make sure you get as much exercise as needed. If you eat too many fruits and vegetables and don’t get any exercise you can bet you’ll gain weight. You need to keep that in mind that it doesn’t matter what diet you’re on. If you eat too much of anything and don’t get any exercise you will become overweight or obese. It’s that simple.

  • alex says:

    careful incase someone gets annoyed S but i agree p.swednesday 13’s from carolina but hes not fat. most ppl are though

  • Carter says:

    Ok this is why veganism gets a bad rap. We are not going to gain any sympathy for our cause by making fun of southern states traditions and dialects. “Lordy ya’ll”? Really? There are serious problems to be dealt with but regional condescension isn’t going to solve anything.

  • maggie says:

    i am from alabama and my favorite vegan dish is fried pickles…yum?

  • sarah says:

    wow.. im so happy im canadian. the usa is one of the most obese countries along with the u.k.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    One would hope this will never happenscary if it does… “More than 86 of adults will be overweight or obese by 2030.” httpwww.todaysdietitian.comtdnews08012008.shtml

  • rose says:

    Kelly Yup you are right. I live in Alabama more specifically Birmingham and I am appaled at how people treat these animals. There are very few vegetarians here and virtually no vegans.

  • kelly says:

    Strange that most of the states you mentioned also have the highest numbers of puppy mills and dog fighters Some of these operations are even run by mayors and police supposed “leaders”

  • Tabitha says:

    Way to go! Now who’s coming up with the exercise plan? Anybody?

  • ian says:

    Last August my wife and I moved to North Carolinahow is NC not one of the above mentioned states? and my goodness. These people eat fried everything…meat skin you name it. It’s shocking. Then so many people wonder why they have such bad health. Hmmm….I wonder. The way alot of these Carolinians view and treat animals is appalling.