Carnes: ‘Hooray! According to the CDC, Eagle County isn’t fat!’ | VailDaily.com

Carnes: ‘Hooray! According to the CDC, Eagle County isn’t fat!’

Richard Carnes
My View

Ahem … I believe "obese" is the proper term these days.

"Okay, whatever, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says here in Eagle County, we are the least obese in the entire country, and we should be proud of that."

Sure, I suppose, but aren't you the least bit curious as to how they measured such a thing? I mean really, what did they do, have a group of minimum-wage note-takers stand around on Bridge Street and check off how many locals looked overweight or appeared to be breathing heavier than others? And how could they tell a local from a tourist in the first place? Clothing?

"I don't know, that would be a ridiculously unfair stereotype unworthy of valid statistical analysis, but hey, it's what I read in the paper."

Well, like Robert Mueller is saying to his legal team right about now, the devil is in the details, so take a peek behind the curtain and see if they bothered to visit our local Walmart at the same time.

"What's wrong with our Walmart?"

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You obviously don't Facebook much, but I suppose you're right, our Walmart is much better than most. Anyway, digging below the surface, I found a health research site called http://www.healthgrove.com released the aforementioned data, and their information did indeed come from the CDC, but the CDC's information came from something called the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

"The what-a-what-a?"

That's what I said. Ends up, they are the nation's premier system of health-related telephone surveys that collect state data about U.S. residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions and use of preventive services.

"O … K."

So the http://www.healthgrove.com folks ranked the counties in each state based on the percent of their population between the ages of 6 and 29 that was obese at the time of the most recent data collection, which was four years ago in 2013.

"It's that old?"

Yep, from way back when we had a tweet-free president and the Broncos still won football games. Also, the obesity rates have been age-adjusted to allow for comparisons between counties that have different age demographics.

"So you're saying it's basically little more than phone interviews of those younger than 30 from more than four years ago that has minimal bearing on today's Eagle County obesity levels."

Yes, but then again, all data are relative, so I'm just saying we should take the conclusions with a hefty grain of salt. But if you want proper perspective, guess which is the "most" obese county in the nation, according to the same people.

"Somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line would be my guess."

Bingo. Benton County, Arkansas' second most populated and fastest growing county, where almost 1 out of every 3 are obese, and it also happens to be the home of Walmart and Tyson Chicken.

"Go figure."

By the way, Summit County also made the top 10, but it was Summit County in Utah, which includes Vail Resorts' very own Park City, not the one right over the pass.

"Fascinating."

Yeah, I know, the whole thing reminds me of a few years ago when bloomberg.com's index of micropolitan money (aka small-town wealth) ranked little ol' Edwards as the second wealthiest small town in the entire U.S. of A.

"Sounds like horse dung to me."

Exactly.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.