This is an excellent question. I believe it is.
I live in North Carolina, a state well known for Southern hospitality, fried chicken, hushpuppies and sweet tea. I am a somewhat detached observer because I am German by birth and did come to the USA in 1989 and to North Carolina in 1994.
When I went to a function by an organization like ‘Meals on Wheels’, the food served there was – in my opinion – extremely unhealthy, yet it represented what is believed to be typical Southern cooking. And I saw the same over at many other events because it is what people think is expected. At the State Fair, the annual competition is who can deep-fry the most astounding things, giving birth to such delicacies as fried twinkies, fried snickers bars, fried cheese and a fried hot dog. And surprising as that may seem: there are actually people who will eat that! And it is often explained that it is part of their culture. However, in order to mollify a guilty conscience, this is then washed down with a diet soda.
The statistics show a grim picture for our state and others. Despite all efforts, obesity rates continue to climb, and I cannot see it changing any time soon. And if tofu ever made it to the state fair, it certainly would be the BBQ deep-fried version.
I am prividing a link to the CDC article on obesity trends here: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html