HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - As a portly woman plodded ahead of him on the sidewalk, the obese mayor of America's fattest and unhealthiest city explained why health is not a big local issue.
"It doesn't come up," said David Felinton, 5-foot-9 and 233 pounds, as he walked toward City Hall one recent morning. "We've got a lot of economic challenges here in Huntington. That's usually the focus."
Huntington's economy has withered, its poverty rate is worse than the national average, and vagrants haunt a downtown riverfront park. But this city's financial woes are not nearly as bad as its health.
Nearly half the adults in Huntington's five-county metropolitan area are obese -- an astounding percentage, far bigger than the national average in a country with a well-known weight problem.