Study: Albany Newscasters Fattest in U.S.

By Dodie Fingerton

Published November 27th, 2016

ALBANY— Capital Region news teams are among the most obese in the nation, according to a new study appearing in Tuesday's edition of The American Journal of Medicine.

The study was based on data collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, an ongoing project from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It's not that surprising,” Carl Warm, the Journal's top editor, wrote in a pointed editorial. “All one has to do to get an idea of our nation's unrelenting obesity problem is flip on the local news in Albany.”

Over the past few decades, the heights and weights of thousands of newscasters from across the country were measured. The measurements were then used to compute newscaster body mass index — or NBMI — a general measure of health correlated with how fat reporters seem to be getting these days.

An NBMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered “normal.” Newscasters in the 25 to 29.9 range are classified as “overweight,” and anyone above 30 is “obese.”

Based on data from 1,238 on-air media personalities, researchers from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics calculated that 72 percent of Albany-area newscasters were obese in 2016, up from 52 percent in 2006. Albany was 11-percent higher than the national average and 3-percent higher than Mobile, Ala. — the next fattest 100,000-plus metro-area home to at least three local news teams.

In addition, the odds of being an obese newscaster in Albany fluctuated with age. Researchers found that 92 percent of Albany newscasters over age 50 were obese, while the remaining 8 percent were classified as overweight. No individuals in this demographic were considered normal, according to the study.

Their younger counterparts did not fare much better. Only 27 percent of Capital Region newscasters in their 20s and 30s were classified as normal, while the remaining 73 percent tipped the scales as overweight and/or obese.

In order to compete with areas like Austin, Texas and Boulder, Colo. — two of the fittest media personality centers listed in the study — the pool of millennial newscasters reporting in Albany would have to lose a combined 1,600 pounds.

“If this pattern isn't reversed soon, ” Warm warned, “Albany's current crop of newscasters will be dead by 2030.”

News of the study put one popular anchor, who’s grown exponentially over his 30-plus years reporting in Albany, on the defensive.

“The whole thing’s absurd,” he told The Smudge on condition of anonymity and speaking with a sugar cookie in his mouth. “I only gained 17 pounds this year.”


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