Survey shows Ky. too obese and smokes too much, but not overly addicted to gambling … ye

Published 11:26 am Thursday, November 29, 2018

A couple of years ago, a sign popped up in an open lot near Ashland advertising that Krispy Kreme would be open for business here soon.

It looked official, with the trademark green and red logo, and an August opening date at the top. People were skeptical, but hopeful. Facebook was practically having a sugar high over all the “shares” that photo of the sign received. It was in the thousands.

An ever-intrepid reporter, I checked it out by calling Krispy Kreme headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C. I tried to convince the folks there we needed a Krispy Kreme and we’d certainly support one, with Facebook shares being Exhibit A in my argument.

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I even told them we are the most obese area in the country, yet we don’t have a Krispy Kreme or a Dunkin’ Donuts within good driving distance. That seemed odd to me. Surely if any area of the country would support the business, it was here.

They didn’t seem too impressed. I was promised a call back by the PR people, but it never came.

Well, it turns out this sign was a prank perpetrated by a female student at Boyd County High School who confessed to her teacher months later she had done the deed. She had the sign made and planted it in the open area. Her prank went further than she ever imagined

She had us all practically drooling over that suggested sugary goodness for weeks.

Of course, being the most obese area or state isn’t something we should be bragging about in Kentucky, where a WalletHub survey showed us to be No. 5 in that category nationally. Kentucky was fourth in child obesity and adult high cholesterol. We like to eat in Kentucky and we like to eat bad.

Lexington (10th) and Louisville (15th) were mong the “Fattest Cities” identified by the survey. The combination of our (fast?)-food choices and lack of physical activity are rated the second-worst in the country.

We have some other problems when it comes to the “sin” areas of life, according to the survey. In the arena of smoking, we are far and away No. 1. They calculated the potential monetary losses — including both the lifetime and annual cost of a cigarette pack per day, health care expenditures, income losses and other costs — brought on by smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.

The total cost estimate per smoker in Kentucky was a whopping $1,145,128, with about $118,000 of that being heath care expenditures. It’s a financial drain as well as a drain on our health, the survey shows.

Here’s a good sign, for now at least.

Kentucky ranked 48th as the most addicted to gambling state. That’s good – actually fantastic – but some decisions from lawmakers in a couple of months could change that number for the worse. Attorney General Andy Beshear sent out a two-page letter urging lawmakers to approve several forms of gambling as a revenue source for pension. The money looks good up front (just like that hot light for donuts) but the destruction gambling brings to families and some of the poorest in our state is a price Kentucky cannot afford.

Beshear, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, sending that from his AG office made about as much sense as me promoting the Ashland area as a slam dunk for donuts.

Kentucky needs expanded gaming about as much as it needs more poor food choices and ash trays.

Mark Maynard is managing editor of Kentucky Today. Reach him at