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Map of Fattest US States
Fattest US State
The fattest US state contests have become no laughing matter to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The obesity crisis and diabetes epidemic is becoming an ever more serious issue with real human and economic consequences. The US Debt to GDP ratio just printed last month at 104%, another indication that healthcare related entitlement programs and the overall budget simply cannot handle it. The resources to tackle the situation being mocked by the fattest US state contests, articles, and blogs don’t seem to be there anymore.

Ok, but who is the Fattest US State?

Apparently, for six straight years the champion of obesity is and has been Mississippi. In fact, from a broad perspective, the south has terrible numbers. There’s no state in the south with less than a 20% obesity prevalence rate. The saddest thing of all is that, like a storm, obesity rates have soared in every single state in the union.

What’s Causing This?

There are some who believe that environmental pressure is one of the culprits. Historically, and through the lens of evolution, a species never changes its form this quickly. The only thing that is displaying the same behavior is the environment. Climate change is happening fast, and with increasing speed.

Socially, the two main reasons for the fattest US state situation are an overly dependent technological society that doesn’t exercise enough, and a fundamentally flawed food system. Basically, people are eating all the wrong things, almost by force, and then are being told not to move too much.

What’s Food & Exercise?

The majority of things people are stuffing into their mouths these days wouldn’t have passed for “food” or even basic sustenance a few generations ago. Sure, it looks the same, but on a chemical level it’s almost an entirely different entity altogether. As the rise of genetically modified foods (GMO) makes their appearance, no one knows what the long term effects will be on either the human body or nature.

Nations that take this type of thing seriously, who don’t play games, are forcing out and burning GMO crops in fear. Organics and home grown foods are becoming the only escape from the over-commercialized corporate food system where profit means everything, and human health means very little.

Exercise science is being taken out of public schools. Budgets to teach children the importance of BMI are being cut. States are going broke. Food stamp usage has gone to an all time high, reaching almost 50 million people nationally, and at the same time food prices are inflating by the double digits in a matter of months.

Where’s This All Heading?

At the rate America is going, when the dust clears, like in ancient Roman times, only the top 1% will proudly display their bodies while the majority strive to eat a few bites of junk food every day. Unprecedented economic collapse, where everyone is out of shape and connected to the net using virtual head pieces…

Americans need to wake up, and rather than laughing at the fattest US state contests, take the situation seriously, demanding more from their schools and representatives.

Photo Credit: Nolan O'Brien

Yoga and Pregnancy
Yoga and Pregnancy
I've personally experienced the benefits of yoga throughout my pregnancy.

In addition to walking, light weights and swimming etc recommended by obstetricians during a pregnancy, I find yoga brings many added benefits.

Unfortunately, many stereotypes about yoga are common and the multitude of different types of classes can be confusing and overwhelming.

In an attempt to simplify this form of exercise/wellness training, I will try to point out several key components:

1) Breathing. Yoga helps you focus on your breathing rather than your over all "fitness level". People can become discouraged during exercise routines because they end up comparing themselves to others.

Yoga is not meant to be a competitive sport. It is NOT about crazy contortions. Yoga is about shifting your focus to yourself so you become more aware of your own general well-being. You begin this process by paying attention to your breathing.

2) Mental endurance. Once you understand that you are not comparing your fitness level to others, you can move on to focus on your own mental control while you are engaging in different forms of exercise including being various classic yoga poses for long periods of time.

3) Combining your physical well-being with your mental well-being. The nice thing about yoga is once you learn to pay attention to yourself, you can exercise in a more "mindful" way. Mindful meaning you can control your own negative thoughts such as "oh, this is too difficult. I can't last any longer" or "Oh, I am tired and lazy" "Oh forget this workout. It sucks" and turn those thoughts into thoughts about observing & controlling your breathing. You will be surprised how much stronger you can become.

During the 2nd part of a pregnancy, your body begins to change in more dramatic ways. The drastic increase in your blood volume, the compression of the baby & the shifting hormonal levels will naturally cause swelling in your body. This change calls for more regular physical activities to encourage healthy circulation throughout the body.

It is so easy for a person to simply become sedentary and give up exercise because it is "difficult". This is the time when pre-natal yoga can help you maintain that motivation, endurance and mental/physical drive.

During the delivery of your child, if you have built up your mental and physical endurance, , you will be prepared to embrace the experience especially if it is a long and difficult labor (and an epidural helps, too).

In short, yoga is a wonderful way to help maintain one's fitness level through sustaining a positive and controlled attitude during the most difficult of times such as during a pregnancy.

It takes time to accept and understand the practice of yoga, but once you do, you will find so many rewards.

Photo Credit: Barry Silver

US vs Ghana Match
The World Cup 2010 United States-Ghana Match
The World Cup 2010 United States-Ghana match went down in history as another devastating loss for the United States. The final score was 2-1, just as it was in the previous matchup between these teams the year before. The 2010 game went into fulltime, the time added to the end of a soccer match to compensate for lost time. After the win, Ghana went on to face Uruguay in the quarterfinals. At the time, it was hailed as the biggest match in U.S. soccer history.

This was the most-watched men's World Cup game in South Africa. It was the second-most in the United States, after the 1999 Women's World Cup final match between the United States and China at the Rose Bowl. The Nielson Co. said that the World Cup 2010 United States-Ghana match was seen by about 14.9 million viewers on ABC, with 4.5 million on Univision, a Spanish-language station. The 1999 Women's World Cup game had about 18 million viewers.

The United States, wearing all white, gave up an early goal in the fifth minute to Ghana, wearing red and yellow stripes. This was the third time in this World Cup that the States had given up a goal in the first 15 minutes of a match. The first goal in the World Cup 2010 United States-Ghana math was scored by Kevin-Prince Boateng with a left-footed shot from the top of the box. Later on, the goalkeeper, Tim Howard, said that he regretted missing the shot and that he should have been able to stop it.

Before the 20 minute mark, two U.S. players had received yellow cards. Ricardo Clark got his first for a violent and late tackle. Next was Steve Cherundulo for tripping Dede Ayew. Asamoah Gyan was blocked in the following penalty kick. Ghana continued to dominate for the first 30 minutes. They held most of the possessions and won most of the important midfield battles. Around this time, Ricardo Clark was taken out at midfield for Maurice Edu. The States were trailing 1-0 at halftime.

In the second half of the World Cup 2010 United States-Ghana match, the U.S. began showing their teeth. Their sluggishness and poor decision making had disappeared – they were making fast, clean passes and good choices. The Ghana team began showing signs of nervousness.

The U.S. team's hard work pays off in a penalty kick by Landon Donovan after he is tackled by Jonathan Mensah (who earns a yellow card for this) in the box. The shot bounces off the right post and into the goal. The Americans have the momentum at this point, giving the Ghana goalkeeper, Richard Kingson, a run for his money. Nothing comes of it, however, and the game enters a thirty-minute fulltime tied at 1-1.Only three minutes into fulltime, Asamoah Gyan scores a great goal for Ghana, sizzling the ball over the goalkeeper's hands. This was an abrupt end to the American domination of the second half of the match. They are unable to score for the rest of fulltime, bringing the World Cup 2010 United States-Ghana match to a close. This win was particularly impressive for Ghana, considering that they were missing their best player, Michael Essian.

Photo Credit: Nicholas Babaian

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