Federal government researchers have just released the nation’s latest obesity figures (“U.S. hits weight marker: 1 in 4 officially obese,” July 18). And without much hesitation, they’ve already announced the culprit too: food. But our dietary habits haven’t really changed over the past few years or, for that matter, over the past few decades. Fifty years ago, most of our grandparents ate a high-fat, high-cholesterol, high-sugar diets. (And deep dish pizza was already a mainstay in Chicago.)

The most radical transformations since obesity rates have grown are more closely tied to our feet than our mouths. Just look at Colorado – the state with the lowest obesity rate– where trim waistlines are tied to active lifestyles. And a recent study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that less than a third of U.S. teens are getting enough exercise to stay healthy. (They move, on average, a mere 35 minutes per day during weekends.)

It’s disappointing that so many commentators have jumped to the wrong conclusion about the cause of our extra pounds. Hard evidence continues to show that the road to a slimmer, healthier America runs through our walking shoes – not our refrigerators.

–Trice Whitefield
Washington, D.C.