I found the word, “Fat Belt” in the headline of the article in Time magazine (October 11 issues), titled “Salad restaurant chains sprouting up even in the ‘Fat Belt.’” The article reads:
“Salad restaurants are thriving on the East Coast, but a novelty in the Midwest — what investors call the fat belt,” John. A. Bornoty, a 42-year-old entrepreneur, tells the Detroit News. “Our focus groups told us people are craving a fresh, healthy menu at affordable prices.”
Urban dictionary (though I know it is unpopular among EL&U users for the lack of credibility) explains “fat belt” as the word describing the status;
“It is when some girl is wearing pants (i.e. jeans skirt) and thereis a roll of fat hanging over the edge. This gives the illusion that the fat is actually a belt...... something very gross.” However, this definition appears to be irrelevant to “Fat belt” appearing in the above article and used as the metonymy of the Midwest.
Does ‘fat belt’ mean the geographic belt of areas where the ratio of obese people is significantly high?
Is it a relatively new word? Doesn’t the word carry a smack of derogatory implication? Can I use it lightly just like the Bible Belt, the Corn Belt, and Rust Belt in front of the Midwesterners?