Huntington, West Virginia: Most disgusting place in America

Apparently, Huntington, West Virginia is the fattest town in America. And they don’t care.

As a portly woman plodded ahead of him on the sidewalk, the obese mayor of America’s fattest and unhealthiest city explained why health is not a big local issue.

“It doesn’t come up,” said David Felinton, 5-foot-9 and 233 pounds, as he walked toward City Hall one recent morning. “We’ve got a lot of economic challenges here in Huntington. That’s usually the focus.”

I’m really glad the reporter went ahead and did the research for this article. The very next graf:

Huntington’s economy has withered, its poverty rate is worse than the national average, and vagrants haunt a downtown riverfront park. But this city’s financial woes are not nearly as bad as its health.

I guess I shouldn’t expect a town that doesn’t seem to even discuss its horrid weight problem to do well with its economy. Health is one of the most important aspects of life, usually regardless of one’s priorities. By ignoring something so significant, this town has demonstrated its willful stupidity. That stupidity, in addition to America’s existing woes, seems to have spread to its economy. Of course, I say its “willful stupidity” because it seems doubtful one could ignore all the broken chairs, crowded rooms, and cracked sidewalks in such a fat, disgusting town.

This city on the Ohio River is surrounded by Appalachia’s thinly populated hills

This just makes things all the worse. This is hiking country. It doesn’t take much to go for a walk in the hills and mountains (not to mention just around the damn neighborhood). These people are wasting their health when they could truly exploit it to seek out the beauty that is the West Virginia landscape. The overweight residents of this town who plainly do not care about health are doing a disservice to themselves, to their children, and to the rest of their town. It isn’t that they overweight and thus bad. That isn’t true. It’s that they’re overweight and they do not care. That’s morally repugnant behavior. We do not want to treat other humans with such physical (or mental, for the matter) disdain, why would we want to do it to ourselves?

7 Responses

  1. That’s morally repugnant behavior. We do not want to treat other humans with such physical (or mental, for the matter) disdain, why would we want to do it to ourselves?

    This is really the question materialism fails to answer.

    Bad behavior leading to self-destruction is really unique to human nature; why do people abuse drugs and alcohol? Why do they smoke? Why do they engage in risky sexual behaviors leading to AIDs and other STDs? Why do they abuse their own children?

    I would think one really has two choices in today’s world. We can except the ages old belief that humans have an aspect to their nature that has been morally corrupted and thus inclines itself to such destructive behaviors both of themselves and others, or one believes that this is just the behavior biology gave us.

    Believing the former offers alternatives and hope for redemption, the latter merely requires us to throw up our hands and accept the situation as it is.

    In short, if this is just humans acting according to the genetic make-up nature gave them, then it is not “morally repugnant” at all because it is not a matter of choice – it can only be contrary to good morality if there exists a standard for such behavior.

  2. We are not our genes.

    Now go be good for goodness’ sake.

  3. We are not our genes.

    Now go be good for goodness’ sake.

    Well, we agree fully on that.

    Of course, you have yet to cite a source for defining ‘good’.

  4. You have it backwards. Poor economy spreads to poor health. Grocery stores are outside of town (thanks, suburban sprawl and Wal-Mart!) where it is more than difficult for poor folks to get to. Inner-city stores amount to little more than convenience stores, selling pre-packaged and processed goods. Of course, nothing is as simple as saying A leads to B. There are about a billion factors, all interwoven, forming a complex web. But, you improve the economy and the things that go along with a strong economy (education, health care availability, public transportation, infrastructure, etc…) then other things will improve.

    As for it being hiking country: Appalachia is not like other mountainous regions where the hills and valleys have been used as a marketing tool to attract tourists. There aren’t many hiking trails (other than in state and national parks, which are out of the way as well) and the mountains are literally owned by extraction companies (coal, natural gas, lumber…). Hiking in many places is illegal… in other places impossible because the land has been raped…

    Overall, YOUR synopsis is lacks the necessary research and academic integrity insinuated by your blog’s title. You might want to change it to: “Uninformed and Out of Touch”.

  5. I said people who have no concern for their health are stupid. Given that health is so important to life, it shouldn’t be surprising that someone who fails to realize something so simple would also fail to manage an economy very well. I never said poor health leads to a poor economy (though it does have its costs, of course). You just made that up.

    Appalachia is a massive region that garners massive attraction from hikers around the world because of the presence of the Appalachian Mountains. West Virginia has over 50 peaks reaching 4,000+ feet. It contains valleys, ridges, canyons, caves, and, frankly, a butt load of other natural attractions. To suggest that it is difficult to find outdoor activities in this state is perhaps one of the most absurd things I have heard in a long, long time. Drive through the state sometime.

    But the point wasn’t even that these people should share with me the priority I give to hiking (a subject on which you have absolutely zero authority, by evidence). The point was that they should give priority to their health, at least insofar as they can. Whereas healthy eating may be limited by fiscal matters, walking in any of the ten public parks located in Huntington is not limited by fiscal matters. What’s more, neighborhoods and walkways exist all around the people of Huntington. They have no excuse to not attempt to be healthy.

  6. To reiterate, improving the economy has nothing to do with my point. A concern and active attempt for health is what is important. The people of Huntington evidentally lack this, both in their private lives and as a city initiative.

    But perhaps you have a conflict of interest coming from the Princeton area?

  7. I am shocked as to how they picture this lovely city. I am surprised they don’t talk about it being a college town with students from all over the world. From friends I have living in Huintington (I have visited many times) the city has changed over the years with many people of different faiths and cultures. The medical school has drawn students from many countries and the wealth of many are not from this country. The doctors stay in Huntington, or come there to make big bucks and live in very expensive homes . Years ago Huntington never had such million dollar homes and I believe it changed their community,as to their pride in the area as others have taken it from them. They are a proud people and complain very little. Suffer in silence and we all turn to comfort food. Let us not use this City to make fun of for all the world to see. They can address the school lunch program to change and offer classes at local hospitals on better eating habits . The city officials should not let them be a show for the world. No city in the US should. We are the Best Country in the World – and can find our own solutions. After visting the UK myself a few years ago – I was surprised at the greasy food they eat. Maybe they walk a lot – who knows ??? Doctors in Huntington tell the people just to walk 30 min. a day – it will make a difference . Come on Huntington – Take back your beautiful city – you don’t need an englishman to show you how – that is why we left England!!!!

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