I read an article yesterday that listed the top ten states that use the most prescription drugs in the nation. When I saw the headline I thought, duh! Obviously California would be one of them. After all, it may be the land of fruits and nuts, but of course there's also a lot of drug abuse out there. I figured one state might be New York. More people, more "cutting edge" stuff and more pushing of the legal envelope. But I was seriously wrong! Neither state made the top ten list. As a matter of fact, not many northern states made the top ten. Most states that are high in prescription drug use (pun intended) are in the South! I was so shocked. Not the Bible Belt! How could those of us in the South rely on prescriptions so much? After all, we live in such a beautiful part of the country. We all believe in family and most of us have a lot of them around. We still go to family dinners and high school football is the biggest thing going on Friday nights.
The article went on to list by state their ranking in health problems. Most of these southern states were very high in diabetes, cholesterol problems, obesity, high blood pressure. And even depression. How could you be depressed when you live in the Glorious South? Since I'm such a fan of top ten lists, I came up with the top ten reasons why we in the South have so many health problems.
1. Two words: fried food. There's nothing good for you in all that batter and oil, but oh how good it is!
2. We drink sweet tea, although others might refer to it as "syrup". What can we say? we like a little tea with our sugar.
3. Banana pudding. No one makes it like we do.
4. Church fellowships. Most of us attend church down here and we're firm believers in fellowshipping even if it's with people we don't particularly care for. Food makes those fellowships more palatable.
5. We've got good cooks down here. It's partly in the genes, but it's also a matter of pride and competition. Once you're known for a certain dish at those fellowships, you want to make sure no one can top you in your "signature" casserole or dessert. That means using real butter and whole milk. We don't believe in "fat-free".
6. Biscuits n' gravy.
7. Family get-togethers. We wouldn't miss them for the world, but family is stressful.
8. We also have stress from maintaining that genteel "southern lie". Aunt Ellie may drive us crazy, bless her heart, but we'd never dream of saying so to her face. We have to hold it all in.
9. Proper Southern ladies do not sweat in public. Ever. It's hot down here anyway, so that really puts a crimp in our exercise plans.
10. Some of us are still recovering from the Civil War. It wasn't that long ago, you know, and we have plaques and memorials all over the place to remind us of which relatives we lost in the War Against Northern Agression. We tend to hold a grudge, after all.
So there you have it. Small wonder we need a few prescriptions to help us make it through the day!