The South was a leader in obesity rates per state and styles of cooking have a great deal to do with it. But many calories come from drinks - sweet iced tea is everywhere, and we invented Coca-Cola and Pepsi (addictive, aren't they?) Even juices are packed with concentrated sugars - and most juices now are not fruit juice but the infamous fructose sweeteners.
I've gradually weaned myself from sodas.
Remember to drink your water and read your food labels.