Author Topic: America's Most Obese Cities  (Read 257 times)

Elano

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America's Most Obese Cities
« on: November 24, 2007, 07:32:46 AM »
1. Memphis, Tenn.: 34%
Researchers have found that residents are aware of the area's obesity problem, currently affecting 34% of its population. Among the causes they blame: high rates of poverty and a culture of Southern hospitality and food that values certain types of dishes--many of them fried--over healthier choices. Memphis actually sits on the western edge of a web of Southern cities along with Birmingham, Ala., and Atlanta, that also landed on our list.

2. Birmingham, Ala.: 31.3
As the second most obese city, 31.3% of Birmingham's residents have a BMI of 30 or higher. Since 2001, a local non-profit organization called Jones Valley Urban Farm has tried to promote healthy eating habits with community gardening plots. The organization also offers educational programs for grade-school children in an effort to battle the city's high childhood obesity rates.

3. San Antonio, Texas: 31.1%
Arguably the home base for calorie-rich Tex-Mex cuisine, this Texas city comes in a close third as the most obese. City officials, however, have taken note, and are exploring solutions. A team of municipal and school leaders was recently chosen by the National League of Cities to receive technical assistance for one year in combating childhood obesity and adopting wellness initiatives. The league will provide San Antonio and five other cities with experts versed in healthy eating and active living as well as fighting obesity.

4. Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif.: 30.8%
Those living in the city of Riverside and the surrounding metropolitan area, located about an hour east of Los Angeles, are likely victims of a car-centric culture. But despite efforts to promote safe streets and bicycle riding, the obesity epidemic is only getting worse: 30.8% percent of Riverside residents are obese, a 5% increase from 2005. The percentage of people neglecting regular exercise is also creeping upward, now standing at 30%.

5. Detroit: 30.4%*
Parts of this beleaguered city, where 33% of residents live below the poverty line, may qualify as a "food desert," a term used to describe urban areas devoid of healthy, fresh food choices. That may explain why 30.4% of its population, and that of the surrounding area, is obese. Still, it seems the state also suffers from unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity: Michigan was recently ranked the ninth heaviest state in the nation by the research group Trust for America's Health. The state already promotes healthy living through an initiative called "Step Up Michigan," but the epidemic might require a more aggressive intervention.

6. Jacksonville, Fla.: 29.8%
Perhaps this city's humid climate drives its residents, 29.8% of whom are obese, indoors. In an effort to lessen the area's obesity rate. the city has launched a public health initiative called Healthy Jacksonville, which allows participants to get involved in a community-wide challenge for improved fitness and health. A primary motivator for the city was the $357 million price tag, as measured in 2003, of obesity and overweight health issues in its residents.

7. Nashville, Tenn.: 28.8%
Nashville's obesity crisis is worsening: At 28.8%, the percentage of residents who are obese increased roughly two points last year, while the number of overweight residents rose to 39%, up from 35.5%. The city has tried combating the rising numbers with various health initiatives, including a mile-plus walk with the mayor and day-long events encouraging the use of nearby greenways.

8. Oklahoma City: 27.5%
Mayor Mick Cornett has been working with city leaders to improve local health on a number of fronts. One reason? A whopping 27.5% of Oklahoma City residents are obese. Among other strategies, the city has promoted healthy living by passing a bond measure to build gyms at 47 inner city schools and increasing the number of bike paths. They've also tried to lure high-profile stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods while also looking at ways to decrease high rates of fast food consumption.

9. Kansas City, Mo.: 26.9%
Well known for its barbecue, Kansas City has a big appetite. Like other cities on this list, where a culture of food is closely intertwined with a way of life, that may contribute to high levels of obesity. In Kansas City, 26.9% of residents have a BMI higher than 30, which qualifies them as obese. At least many are vocal about improving parks and recreation services, as well as making sidewalks more walkable. When polled by the city government last year, improved parks and sidewalks ranked at the top in terms of what residents most wanted.

10. San Diego, Calif.: 26.7%
The glitz of downtown San Diego belies pockets of poor neighborhoods where access to fresh fruit and vegetables is limited. Other factors contributing to the obesity rate of 26.7% may be car commuting and a large Hispanic population, whose members often have higher incidences of obesity than non-Hispanic whites. To counteract the trend, San Diego County has invested in preventing and reversing childhood obesity by forging collaborative relationships between public and private entities.

11. Cincinnati, Ohio: 26.3%
Though University of Cincinnati researchers have made progress in determining the cause of obesity, the city's waistline continues to expand. Since 2005, the percentage of obese residents has grown 4% to 26.3%. The state is following the lead of cities like San Francisco and New York as it considers a ban on trans fats in restaurants. The mayor has also implemented initiatives to ensure children in underserved communities have access to nutritionally balanced meals.

12. Indianapolis: 26%
As the hub for several interstates that cut through the city, Indianapolis has been dubbed the "Crossroads of America." It's not surprising, also given its notoriety as home to the Indy 500, that Indianapolis has long been considered a driver's city. Local residents, 26% of whom are obese, have paid the price for sprawl policies and a prevailing car culture--with their health. That may change as city planners continue to build and promote greenways and bike paths, including its so-called "cultural trail," an eight-mile path which will connect several neighborhoods.

13. (Tie) Baltimore: 25.8%
Issues like safety, poverty and food access have contributed to the obesity rate in Baltimore, which edged to 25.8% last year, a slight increase from 2005. Various groups, including the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance and the Baltimore Neighborhood Research Consortium, are leading efforts to understand what aspects of neighborhood planning best contribute to healthy communities

13. (Tie) New Orleans: 25.8%
Residents of New Orleans love their food, a lot of which is deep fried. Disentangling a love for food from a need to make healthy eating choices may be the city's greatest challenge. The department of public health has implemented weight loss and physical activity programs tailored for the local population, including an African dance class for women.

13. (Tie) Virginia Beach, Va.: 25.8%
The city of Virginia Beach celebrates its 35 miles of coastline, but given its obesity rate, it's unclear whether an outdoor mentality has become a part of local culture and not just a function of tourism. Among other healthy living promotion strategies, the city instituted an incentive program in 2006 through which employees could earn up to $200 per year by exercising at a gym for a specified number of visits.

16. Atlanta: 25.6%
At 25.6%, roughly one quarter of Atlanta's population is obese. One cause might be sprawling suburban subdivisions which require residents to commute an average of 35 miles per day by car. A study released by a University of British Columbia researcher in January 2007 found that residents of Atlanta drive more than those in most other regions in the country. Researchers also found that 37% of Atlanta residents living in highly walkable neighborhoods were able to get 30 minutes of moderate activity each day, as opposed to those in the least walkable neighborhoods, 18% of whom got similar levels of exercise.

17. (Tie) Milwaukee: 25.4%
Milwaukee is another city on our list that saw its obesity rate increase significantly since 2005. Then, 19.8% of residents were obese, compared with 25.4% in 2006. Another alarming number is the percentage of impoverished city residents: 26.2% of individuals live below the poverty line in Milwaukee. The combined statistics may hint at limited access to healthy, affordable food as a primary cause for the growing obesity rate.

17. (Tie) Richmond, Va.: 25.4%
The obesity crisis in Virginia has caught the attention of state lawmakers, who are currently considering legislation to fight childhood obesity. Richmond joins Virginia Beach as the second Virginian city to rank on our list. Vanderbilt University researchers also recently ranked Richmond among the top 10 cities with the largest gaps in obesity rates between black and white residents, a fact experts should take into consideration as they look at different prevention approaches.

18. (Tie) Austin, Texas: 24.9%
Austin wouldn't have entered our list based on 2005 figures, when only 17.2% of its residents were obese. But in 2006, that number shot up to 24.9%, which was enough to surpass neighboring Houston, an erstwhile "fattest" city. The noticeable shift may shock residents who think of their hometown as healthy and active.

18. (Tie) Las Vegas, NV: 24.9%
Las Vegas, the nation's capital of excess, ties with Austin for last place on our list. Despite the city's many walking groups and fitness initiatives, 24.9% of its population is obese, a nearly four point increase from 21% in the previous year.

 

Elano

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2007, 07:35:41 AM »
We are heavier than ever.

Once considered an affliction of the lazy and indulgent, obesity now affects about one-third of Americans. The epidemic has swept up the wealthy, middle class and the poor; city dwellers, suburbanites and those in rural areas; and people of all races and ethnicities.

The causes, researchers say, are numerous. These include a diet of calorie-dense but nutrient-deficient food found in grocery and convenience stores, public planning strategies that favor motorists over walkers and cyclists, and simply bad habits.


And while the causes are many, the costs are enormous. Obesity's associated costs add $93 billion to the nation's medical bill annually. Each year, 112,000 people die from obesity-related causes, and the condition is responsible for an increased risk of chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

To better understand the local and state implications of the obesity epidemic, we ranked the nation's heaviest cities. In doing so, we discovered states with multiple offenders, metropolitan areas with expanding waistlines and a high representation of Southern cities. Worse yet, after claiming the title of the most sedentary city, Memphis, Tenn., has also ranked first as the country's most obese.

Behind the numbers

To determine which cities were the most obese, we looked at 2006 data on body mass index, or BMI, collected by the Centers for Disease Control's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which conducts phone interviews with residents of metropolitan areas about health issues, including obesity, diabetes and exercise.

In this case, participants report their height and weight, which survey analysts use to calculate a BMI. Those with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 are considered at a healthy weight, those with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight, and those with a BMI of 30 or higher are considered obese. About 32 percent of the nation is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control; Memphis ranked above the national average at 34 percent.

Though data is collected for roughly 145 metropolitan statistical areas, we looked only at the country's 50 most populated cities and ranked the top 20. Because of an insufficient number of survey responses, data from some cities, including Sacramento, Calif., Columbus, Ohio, and Buffalo, N.Y., was not included. Had we included every area on the list, the smaller cities of Huntington, W.V., and Ashland, Ohio, on the West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio state borders, would have far outpaced every city on the list with obesity rates of 45 percent. Of the 50 cities we did rank, Boston entered last, with only 19 percent.

Noticeable Trends

Many of the cities on the list have high poverty rates and high frequencies of fast-food consumption.

In the city of Memphis, which does not include the outlying areas surveyed by the CDC, 24 percent of residents live below the poverty line. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the national average is 13 percent. The same trend was noticeable in the cities of Milwaukee (No. 17), Detroit (No. 5), and San Antonio, Texas, (No. 3) where 26 percent, 33 percent, and 18 percent of residents, respectively, live beneath the poverty line.

While fast-food consumption is a minor factor influencing obesity rates, purchasing patterns often reflect larger health issues and habits in certain communities. The average American had purchased fast food 16 days of the month between January and September of this year, according to Quick-Track research conducted by the consumer tracking group Sandelman & Associates. Thirteen cities on our list, including Memphis, Austin, Texas, and Indianapolis, met the national average or higher. Residents of San Antonio eat fast food 20 days of the month, and had the highest frequency of the cities on our list.

The Causes

Despite public health warnings about maintaining a frequent exercise regimen, limiting fast-food consumption and avoiding weight gain, there is no single cause of obesity, a fact that often frustrates experts, legislators - and obese people.

Other factors contributing to our ballooning waistlines, says Marian Levy, director of the master's of public health program at the University of Memphis, include enormous food portions, declining exercise rates and cheaper, unhealthy food. When asked about Memphis, however, Levy emphasizes a local culture built around Southern hospitality.

"We express our caring about people through food," she says, describing generous helpings of fried fish, chicken and okra often shared with neighbors and friends. "We have to realize that if we truly care about people, we want them to be healthful."

In Memphis, as in other cities on our list, reversing the obesity crisis can seem like trying to plug a thousand holes in a sinking ship. Public health campaigns are a start. Healthy Memphis Common Table, a nonprofit organization trying to promote better fitness and nutrition choices, provides residents with a list of exercise facilities and walking paths in addition to health tips and testimonials about the benefits of weight loss.

Another tactic, notes Levy, is vending machine legislation that will require schools pre-K through eighth grade to replace unhealthy foods and beverages in vending machines, on school store shelves, at fundraisers and a la carte cafeteria items with more nutritious alternatives. She hopes the legislation, which is being implemented for the current school year, will improve the diets of Memphis-area school children, 71 percent of whom receive a free lunch from school cafeterias.

Still, "there's not going to be a silver bullet," Levy says. "There has to be a simultaneous change at the environmental level, in schools, communities and families."

The Solutions

It's that community-wide change in lifestyle that experts say will result in fewer cases of obesity.

"You see cities taking this on in a range of different ways," says Leon Andrews, the project director of the Institute for Youth, Education and Families at the National League of Cities. Andrews is currently overseeing a one-year project in which six cities, including our third most obese, San Antonio, receive assistance in combating childhood obesity and promoting community wellness.

Andrews identified five ways cities could specifically address childhood obesity, as well as larger community health issues. These included improving public space and utilizing parks and recreation areas to encourage physical activity, as well as pursuing healthy food alternatives through community gardens and farmer's markets.

"More cities are becoming aware of [obesity] and looking to play a role in improving the situation," Andrews says. He also pointed out that city leaders often preferred to follow a successful example as opposed to chart a new course: "They definitely want to be the second, but may not want to be the first," he says. Regardless, it's clear that rising rates of childhood obesity - 17 percent of children and adolescents ages 12 to 19 are overweight - has prompted cities like Birmingham, Ala., San Diego and Richmond, Va., all on our list, to become more proactive in terms of obesity prevention.

Others, such as Walter Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, believe our salvation lies mainly in ridding the grocery store of food he calls "not fit for human consumption." Among the items he would like to see purged, he says, are the "shelves of sugar water, the breakfast cereal section, dominated by refined starch and sugar, and white bread and rolls."

According to Willett, a healthier diet, in combination with increased levels of physical activity and environments that promote exercise, would drastically improve the country's obesity problem. "If we do this right," he says, "we'll improve our quality of life in many different ways."

 

Mr. O

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2007, 08:24:23 AM »
It seems they want to kill themselves really fast.
[flash=200,200<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/AlIxU8SiFZU?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/AlIxU8SiFZU?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>[/flash]
 

jeromechickenbone

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2007, 08:55:15 AM »
I think it's wack as fuck that people rely on politicians to improve peoples obesity by banning shit left and right.  I say let all those motherfuckers eat whatever they want - if they die, they die.  We got way realler problems than that shit.  Too many Americans are pussy ass bitches that have no self-responsibility whatsoever.  Fuck em.
 

white Boy

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2007, 10:53:48 AM »
^ cosign, and its the same with drugs.

also, i cant believe philly aint on the list, motherfuckers eating cheesteaks left and right
 

d-nice

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2007, 11:03:05 AM »
Not a surprise most of these cities are in the South.
 

boycriedwolf619

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2007, 11:22:19 AM »
Not a surprise most of these cities are in the South.
Yup, a lot of them still eating that poisonous swine. filling their body with that toxic. there is a reason why its forbidden to be eating by the bible.
 

QuietTruth

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2007, 11:23:43 AM »
Stop shrinking the snacks. That's all I gotta say.
 

white Boy

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2007, 12:40:36 PM »
Not a surprise most of these cities are in the South.
Yup, a lot of them still eating that poisonous swine. filling their body with that toxic. there is a reason why its forbidden to be eating by the bible.
fuck that, bacon is good
 

7even

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2007, 01:10:19 PM »
I think it's wack as fuck that people rely on politicians to improve peoples obesity by banning shit left and right.  I say let all those motherfuckers eat whatever they want - if they die, they die.  We got way realler problems than that shit.  Too many Americans are pussy ass bitches that have no self-responsibility whatsoever.  Fuck em.

It really is fucked up. First off, it is crazy to restrict people when it comes to eating. Secondly, such a "ban" would include everybody, also the next homie who ain't overweight at all.
Cause I don't care where I belong no more
What we share or not I will ignore
And I won't waste my time fitting in
Cause I don't think contrast is a sin
No, it's not a sin
 

Boba Fettucini

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2007, 01:19:52 PM »
Not a surprise most of these cities are in the South.

Yup! or areas w/ large mexicans (sd/lv) their diet is horrible just like those jesus freak southerners
 

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2007, 06:05:28 PM »
Don't restrict the people that have the common sense to eat a salad once in while. People who are obese should have to pay more for food and gas. That ought to help a little. :P
 

Machiavelli

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2007, 06:55:05 PM »
I think it's wack as fuck that people rely on politicians to improve peoples obesity by banning shit left and right.  I say let all those motherfuckers eat whatever they want - if they die, they die.  We got way realler problems than that shit.  Too many Americans are pussy ass bitches that have no self-responsibility whatsoever.  Fuck em.

word...cant believe san diego is up there, but its probably just the hispanics cuz the white bitches there are hot as hell at least north county
 

swangin and bangin

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2007, 11:30:03 PM »
Stop shrinking the snacks. That's all I gotta say.
word
inshape people gots to suffer cuz the fat niggas
 

Doggystylin

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2007, 12:22:19 PM »
AHAHAHAHAHAHA I'm laughing at all you fat motherfuckers, lose some weight and make the world more pleasing to the eye.
 

swangin and bangin

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2007, 05:49:59 PM »
AHAHAHAHAHAHA I'm laughing at all you fat motherfuckers, lose some weight and make the world more pleasing to the eye.
ahahahaahahah
+1
true story
 

M Dogg™

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2007, 05:25:35 PM »
Damn my hometown is #4. Not surprising, people spend all day in a car.

My personal opinion is this, in school serve healthier food to the kids. Shit I remember free lunch was green hot dogs and the Mexican food and Italian food looked exactly the same and no one touched the green stuff 'cause it looked old and rotten. So schools need to start kids off right by serving healthy food, and then have more health classes, ones that actually teach about obessity, and more sex education.

Now it's true, most those cities have high poverity rates, and with that comes eating more fast food because it's cheap and you get more calories. If you have $2, and you are starving, you got with more calories to last longer rather than healthier. In the I.E., you put in the car culture as people drive 2-3 hours a day to work in LA, and you have fast food filled people that always are sitting. The actual solution in the I.E., lower business taxes to attract jobs there and get people working closer to home to work off their McDonald's (Micky D's started in San Bernardino so it's in our culture) in their yard or where ever.
 

Machiavelli

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2007, 05:38:16 PM »
if your voting for obama doesnt expect lowering taxes
 

M Dogg™

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2007, 05:50:58 PM »
if your voting for obama doesnt expect lowering taxes

LMFAO

oh my god... you have no idea about local and national government. Break down, even if Obama raises taxes, if the I.E. lowers taxes then they will have lower taxes than LA, and well offering cheaper workers (IE cost of living is lower than LA) and cheaper land, this will have businesses turning to the IE as an alternative to LA which will bring jobs there, thus it doesn't matter what Obama does, it's between Pat Morris/Ronald Loveridge and Antonio Villaraigosa
 

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2007, 07:11:33 PM »
Obama will bankrupt this country and invade Iran
 

M Dogg™

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2007, 08:16:43 PM »
Obama will bankrupt this country and invade Iran

just like Paul will expand the government and make sure the US is the world's leading miltary interational power.
 

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2007, 09:42:55 PM »
Wow you really don't understand socialism and what Ron Paul stands for.
 

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2007, 07:08:05 AM »
Wow you really don't understand socialism and what Ron Paul stands for.

The current president has us bankrupt, so Capitalism is the cause.

Ron Paul, he ain't beating Rudy, or Hucklebee, so I don't worry about what he stands for.
 

Piffmeister2008

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2007, 04:23:07 AM »
Iv though Texas would've been close to 100%
 

Machiavelli

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Re: America's Most Obese Cities
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2007, 12:24:24 PM »
if your voting for obama doesnt expect lowering taxes

LMFAO

oh my god... you have no idea about local and national government. Break down, even if Obama raises taxes, if the I.E. lowers taxes then they will have lower taxes than LA, and well offering cheaper workers (IE cost of living is lower than LA) and cheaper land, this will have businesses turning to the IE as an alternative to LA which will bring jobs there, thus it doesn't matter what Obama does, it's between Pat Morris/Ronald Loveridge and Antonio Villaraigosa

yeah great jobs, paying good money right? thats how a socialism works. everyone is equal. if you give universal health care which is impossible, hospitals will run out of money, doctors wiill be paid less so their treament wont be as good. sure everyone will be treated but, what if i want better services then joe the crack addict next door.

Obama will bankrupt this country and invade Iran

just like Paul will expand the government and make sure the US is the world's leading miltary interational power.

lmao you clearly know what paul stands for...exact oppostite.

your canidate is the one who wants the federal government to give you everything and decides whats best for you