York Town Square

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Part II: York countians tipping the scales – 2/3 of us are fat or obese

A short story with this documentary about obesity in York County, Pa., by York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News photographer Jason Plotkin states: “Darlene Lookingbill saw her husband Dave drop 165 pounds and improve his health after gastric bypass surgery. She saw his ailments decrease and his energy and smiles return. She wanted the same thing. She knew the surgery had risks and would change her lifestyle in many ways. But if that’s what it would take to feel healthy again, she’d do it.” And she did it. Also of interest: Farmland preservation, YorkCounts quality-of-life indicator: Ag use outpacing population growth and Further education plans, YorkCounts quality-of-life indicator: Post-high-school prospects rising and Teen motherhood, YorkCounts quality-of-life indicator: Despite historic occurrence among Pennsylvania Dutch, rate is falling.

A headline on a Jeff Frantz story in the York Daily Record/Sunday News gave a historical explanation for America’s – and particularly York County’s – obesity problem.
“As U.S. food production grew, so did Americans,” it stated. “Food prices dropped, family size shrunk and calories per meal rose.”
In agricultural rich York County, the weight problem became an epidemic. Two-thirds of us are fat or obese.
A highlight of the series, “Fat Battleground, Obesity in York County”, that included Frantz’s story was a video about Dave and Darlene’s Lookingbill’s struggle with weight… .

They chose a procedure that might not appeal to everyone – gastric bypass surgery.
The video, in which Jay received access to the operating room, worked, in part, because the Lookingbills were such typical York countians – good, kindhearted people who are doing their best to deal with a problem in life.
I e-mailed Jay a note thanking him for his work. I told him that I had just viewed a Norman Rockwell exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, put together from the collections of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. In a video, both directors pointed to Rockwell’s casting ability as a big part of his genius.
The genius in Jay’s work, I noted, was his casting of the Lookingbills: “Perfect. Real York countians.”
The obesity series came at a good time for those of us who like to over eat. Right before the York Fair.

Also of interest:
York countians tipping the scales, Part I.