A couple days ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture put out its annual food security report, measuring the number of Americans who have a hard time getting enough to eat. The topline numbers are pretty depressing: Though other economic indicators like employment and wages have been steadily creeping back from the depths of the recession, food insecurity remains basically as high as it's ever been.
Being "food insecure," though, doesn't necessarily mean you're underweight: Both occasional lack of adequate nutrition and obesity track closely with poverty. That perhaps explains why Mississippi — the state with the highest poverty rate, at 22.8 percent — also has both the highest food insecurity rate (20.9 percent) and the highest obesity rate (34.6 percent). It also has the second-highest concentration of fast food cooks, after Arkansas, which comes in right after Mississippi in the obesity rankings.
Chew on that.
Lydia DePillis is a reporter focusing on labor, business, and housing. She previously worked at The New Republic and the Washington City Paper. She's from Seattle.