Friday, August 31, 2007

Obesity, exercise and MN's running of the bull

The CDC released state-specific obesity and exercise recently, and every state played it differently. The most interesting statistic for me was that that the thinnest state today (Colorado) is fatter than the fattest state of 15 years ago. That's largely demographics -- the median age has probably risen 10 years in the past 15 years -- but it's still a bit amazing.

Our local papers claimed Minnesotans are #1 in exercise and near the median for obesity. We're generally a good mirror of America, so median obesity is to be expected. The weird part is our relatively enthusiasm for activity -- it's not like we have a long bicycling season! On the other hand we have a heck of a lot of bicycle/skate/run trails, both in the metro area and throughout the state (more on that in a future post).

Coincidentally Minnesotans again demonstrated the fruits of fitness:

... An angry bull escaped Friday morning from his owner at the Minnesota State Fair, barreling past fairgoers for more than a block before headbutting a fire hydrant and dying at the scene.

No one else was injured...

... Pooch said the bull ran for nearly a block while stunned fairgoers jumped out of the way. "There were a lot of people on the grounds at that time because when I got to the scene there were about 250 people standing around the bull," Pooch said.

Were people afraid?

"I would be," Pooch said. "You have a 1,600- to 1,700-pound animal running at you, you don't want to get in its way."

The bull apparently set his sight on a fairgoer, but the man jumped out of the way, Pooch said. Then the bull turned and saw the fire hydrant. "I guess he decided to take it out on the fire hydrant," Pooch said.

A vet on the scene immediately checked for a heart beat and found none, Pooch said.

"I don't think he felt any pain," Pooch said...

It's a mildly funny story (though not for Mr. Pooch or his bull) only because a lot of people moved very quickly. We saw the same thing when our bridge fell; a lot of people swam out of the Mississippi.

It would be useful to know why we're exceptional exercisers. We're average enough that there ought to be some valuable lessons there -- for the day (if ever) that we start taking obesity seriously.

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