More than a quarter of Americans self-report that they’re obese, and in three states – Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee – more than 30 percent do, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.
Colorado had the lowest reported obesity rate: 18.7 percent.
The 2007 national average of 25.6 percent compares with a 23.9 percent obesity rate in 2005, the CDC said. Actual obesity is likely to be greater, because the figures are based on self-estimated height and weight from telephone health surveys of 350,000 people.
Obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or above. It’s calculated using height and weight. A 5-foot 9-inch adult who weighs 203 pounds, for example, would have a BMI of 30.
The South reported the highest obesity rate: 27 percent. In the Midwest, it was 25.3 percent, compared with 23.3 percent in the Northeast and 22.1 percent in the West.
Police infiltrated group meetings
Undercover Maryland state police officers infiltrated meetings of peace and anti-death penalty groups for more than a year, according to documents released Thursday by the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Police also included the name of at least one prominent peace activist in a federal database for tracking terrorists and drug dealers.
ACLU attorney David Rocah said documents released Thursday show state police violated federal laws prohibiting departments that receive federal funds from maintaining databases with information about political activities and affiliations. The ACLU obtained the documents after suing the state police.
Maryland State Police Col. Terrence B. Sheridan said in a statement that his agency has never taken illegal action against citizens or groups that have lawfully exercised their right to free speech and assembly.
The Maryland ACLU sued last month, claiming the State Police refused to release public documents about surveillance of peace activists. The suit claimed a State Police intelligence unit monitored Baltimore peace groups that protested at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade in 2004.
Slithery surprise in washing machine
Mara Ranger will be a little paranoid doing laundry now.
When she was removing clothes from the washing machine at her Maine farmhouse Wednesday, the clothes moved.
She told WMTW-TV, “I jumped back” and saw a snake. She quickly shut the lid and called for help.
Maine Animal Damage Control operator Richard Burton reached into the machine and pulled and pulled – all 8 feet of a reticulated python.
Burton guesses the snake got into Ranger’s washing machine through water pipes. The snake’s future home will be York Animal Kingdom in York.
Ranger is going to start looking into every corner of her washing machine. “I’m going to be looking in the tub first – before and after, maybe even during, the rinse cycle,” she said
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