SPARTA — It is lunchtime in the third-fattest county in Georgia.
At the Palm Tree Restaurant, a fish-and-burger parlor on the outskirts of one of the state’s most economically depressed towns, a house painter is hunched over a perch plate.
“Judge Alex” is on the snowy, outdated, big-screen TV in the corner of what was once an American Legion hall. The color of the concrete floor almost matches the green felt on the dining-room pool table. On this particular day, the painter, a 36-year-old local of average build named Alton Andrews, is the restaurant’s only eat-in diner.
Other patrons, including a corrections officer from the nearby prison, trickle in to grab takeout orders. Near the counter, tacked on a bulletin board next to the “100 A” health department rating form, is a hot-pink card advertising “Grease Trap Services.”
A reporter asks Andrews about his eating habits, telling him where Hancock County ranks in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest estimates, how more than a third of the area’s adults are obese.
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