What state has the thinnest population–and WHY? You’d think it would be California–where health food abounds and fruits and vegetables are grown–or even New York, where everyone seems to have a gym or health club membership. But it’s none of those: it’s Colorado!

Using medical data, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maps out the obesity distribution in the US using colors: In 1985, they used just three: dark blue to indicate 10 to 14% obesity, light blue to indicate less than 10% obesity (and white to indicate that no data was provided for the state). They’ve learned that obesity among children has tripled since 1980. Blue is the best color, but the most disturbing color is the dark red, which represents states with an obesity rate greater than 30%. The 2010 map has 5 more colors than the 1985 map, and the blue states we started with are now all gone.

The state that took the longest to change colors is Colorado, which has the lowest obesity rates of its adult population in the nation. What are they doing right? In the Huffington Post, Kristin Kirkpatrick gives us the explanation, and it’s mostly a matter of exercise: they have plenty of sunshine, which encourages residents to get out and use their many hiking and ski trails. They also have many farmer’s markets and healthy restaurants.

In her famous diet book "What I Learned From the Fat Years," Anne Strieber (who developed this diet using scientific principles and lost 100 pounds) tells us how to eat, but she also emphasizes exercise, in her chapter titled "The Tyranny of the Body." You don’t have join a gym or be athletic to be fit–she explains that WALKING is the best way to exercise–and it not only exercises the body, it’s good for the brain!

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