The latest obesity statistics (released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health) indicate that Americans are much heavier now than 15 years ago. There are now five states (Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee and Louisiana) in which nearly one in three people are obese. And the state with the lowest 2011 obesity levels — Colorado, with 19.8 percent of adults considered analogous to walking sea lions — would have had the highest rate in 1995, the report says.
(l. to r.) Patrick Knowles, Errol Flynn, Alan Hale, Sr. in The Adventures of Robin Hood.
Think of that — every fifth person in the healthiest state in the nation has the physique of John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
To get an idea of how things have changed over the last few decades, consider a light-hearted scene in Michael Curtiz‘s The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) in which Alan Hale, Sr. (i.e., “Little John”) is repeatedly ribbed by Errol Flynn and his Merry Band of Men for being too heavy. They surround Hale and laugh and nudge him and really let him have it — your body is rather laughable, good fellow!
Except Hale’s Little John isn’t close to being fat by today’s standards. He has the physique of Seth Rogen before he lost weight for The Green Hornet. He’s definitely more svelte than Jack Black. Don’t even mention him in the same breath with pre-weight-loss, Get Him To The Greek Jonah Hill.