Interesting review at LRB on The Hungry Gene: The Science of Fat and the Future of Thin by Ellen Ruppel Shell. Given Americans' tendency to fatness and the costs associated with such a condition this might be a good time to pick up this book and read it.

One thing I noticed when growing up and living in the midwest was that there seemed to be more grossly fat people there than on the coasts. All-you-can-eat buffets are more common there too . . . posing a classic chicken and egg problem but for one thing: both the chicken and the egg are most likely to be eaten before the problem gets solved! Seriously, though, my original thinking on this was that since there's less to do in the midwest, recreationwise (as opposed to say either coast), that eating had become a form of recreation in and of itself, rather than mere nourishment. I tend to think that this is still true.
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