The South has the perplexing distinction of having both a high percentage of obese adults and a high percentage of chronically hungry adults, according to two studies released in 2009.

Released in July 2009, a report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that Mississippi has the highest rate of adult obesity, 32.5%, followed by Alabama, West Virginia and Tennessee. Across the United States, nearly one-third of Americans are considered overweight or obese.

A second study, a USDA phone survey of 44,000 households released in November, found that “more than two-thirds of people with very low food security — which is the politically correct term for chronic hunger — said they went hungry from time to time, and 27% of these adults said they didn’t eat at all some days,” wrote Tony Pugh with McClatchy Newspapers, in an article on the survey. The survey also said Mississippi had the highest level of chronic hunger, at 17.4%.

It’s baffling to think that both hunger and obesity can be major issues in America, especially hunger, with USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program assisting in food purchases for 35 million Americans. Yet, the hunger survey implies that 49 million Americans “will not be able to celebrate Thanksgiving in a way they ought to be able to celebrate,” said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack.

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