In a historic election held Sunday, the people of Puerto Rico voted in favor of becoming the 51st state in the United States of America. While the majority of Puerto Ricans now support statehood, they still have one last hurdle to clear before they can officially join the union. Congress has informed Puerto Rico that it will not grant statehood to the island territory until its obesity rates match the U.S. national average.
It looks like Puerto Rico will have to wait a little longer for statehood until it porks up a bit.
“While we would be thrilled to confer statehood upon Puerto Rico, we unfortunately cannot do so until its citizens are on the whole as morbidly overweight as the rest of the United States,” Congressional leaders wrote in an official statement following Puerto Rico’s vote for statehood. “We would love to welcome this beautiful island and its vibrant citizens into the hallowed union of our great republic, but first thousands more Puerto Ricans must eat a lot of enormous turkey legs and fried foods loaded with saturated fats.”
This is no small task for Puerto Rico, which must boost its obesity rate from a paltry 28 percent to America’s robust 36 percent. Congress has made it clear: Until tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans start consuming irresponsible amounts of soda and processed foods and avoiding exercise at a truly American level, the path to statehood will remain closed.
“If Puerto Rico is serious about joining the union, it will need to bring up its rate of congestive heart failure and other fatal illnesses associated with eating unhealthy foods in dangerous quantities, just as American citizens have done for decades,” the congressional note continued. “The island territory will have to institute a long-term plan for overeating and leading a sedentary lifestyle at all levels of Puerto Rican society if it ever hopes to match the United States’ obesity rates and satisfy Congress’s criteria for statehood.”
This weekend’s vote has brought Puerto Rico one step closer to becoming a state, but we’ll need to see many more obese Puerto Ricans before we end up adding another star to the American flag. We may see Puerto Rico become a state someday, but until it can find a way to elevate its obesity rates to meet the exacting standards of Congress, we’ll just have to wait a little bit longer.