"America's obesity rate creeps up to 27.7%. On the plus side, now it's higher than our math scores."
We were very worried about coverage of food/nutrition/obesity after the end of the "Colbert Report" run. The show that took the "Colbert Report" timeslot — "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore" — gave us its take on the obesity issue.
Wilmore had two focuses in the episode: rising obesity rates and that Europe's highest court ruled that sometimes obesity can be a disability.
To watch the entire episode, click here.
Obesity numbers aside, the timing is linked to one of our unofficial eating holiday: Super Bowl Sunday. Wilmore joked about his 7-layer corn tortilla double dipped bacon deep fried sour cream stuffed crust panini.
He did point out that Americans on Super Bowl Sunday ate 1.25 billion chicken wings and 11.2 million lbs. of potato chips. Chances are if you are watching the game, even for the commercials, you are eating more than usual on a Sunday night.
The show's format has an opening monologue followed by a panel discussion and then a "keep it 100" segment where the panelists are asked to be honest over a tough question.
Wilmore gave us a bit of history: back in the day when fat was a good thing, the poor couldn't keep up because they literally didn't have enough food. Now that thin is a good thing, the poor can't afford trainers and to have large grocery stores in their neighborhood.
The panel talked about food deserts and paying for obesity through healthcare. Wilmore also noted that blacks have the highest obesity rate at 47%, and that childhood obesity doubled in children and tripled in adults in the last 30 years.
The disability angle? The European Court of Justice standard of obesity being a disability goes to whether it "hinders the full and effective participation of the person concerned in professional life on an equal basis with other workers."
Businesses have to accommodate workers accordingly. World Health Organizations figures have 20% of European men and 23% of European women are obese, lower than the United States but higher than you would expect.
The panel was Morgan Spurlock, Marianne Kirby, a fat acceptance advocate, and 2 comedians: Lavell Crawford, a large black man, and Shannon DeVido, a disabled woman.
Problems get discussed on the program, but solutions aren't always funny. Still, a great chance to bring obesity to a serious TV discussion. When was the last time a cable news channel spent 30 minutes on food, nutrition, and obesity?
With the "Colbert Report," the comedy would have been better but the show wouldn't have spent the whole episode on just one topic. Colbert would have focused on food and food marketing; Wilmore went to the after effects of eating that food.
"The Nightly Show" being the latest spinoff from "The Daily Show" -- which has plenty of food coverage itself.
The commercial right out of the first break of the show: KFC popcorn nuggets "made from the world's best chicken." That doesn't help those who are struggling with obesity. The idea that KFC is made from the world's best chicken can't be literal.
photo credit: Twitter @therotund