Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Episode Twenty-Five: Eating good in EVERY neighborhood…

So, today’s episode will take a wiiiiiiide look at the pot-bellied state that this country has found itself in. Wow.  Is it me, or do skinny people actually seem like a rarity in today’s society outside of MTV?  Maybe I shouldn’t say “skinny”, as that will inevitably mean if you’re not skinny, you’re considered “fat”, and we don’t need any more hyper-sensitive people in the world than there already is. We’ll say….ideally weighted. In any case, the question remains:  how did America become of the fattest nations in the world, with more than 60% of the population either considered ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’?

I suppose the first answer was obvious: it’s the fault of the fast food chains. Yeah. It’s the fault of the Big Macs and large fries of McDonalds, Whoppers of Burger King, the 5-piece chicken nuggets from Wendy’s, those oh-so-yummy Gorditas of Taco Bell, and the monstrous “Double Down” chicken sandwich from KFC. (Side note: I’m not touching anything that decides to be so ignorantly fat as to ignore bread for a ‘sandwich’. I do admire KFC’s guts though for putting out something so bold.) Of course, we’d like to think this is mostly their fault, when in reality; they are the LEAST culpable reasons for booming waistlines. “Why?” You may ask. A couple of reasons:

  1. Fast- food joints have been around since the early 50s, using much more biologically dangerous preservatives to prepare food in the factories before shipping and worst oils for cooking, yet no one complained about McDonald’s destroying diets (much) and sodas making kids 100-pounds overweight at 13.
  2. They DO offer menus for the carb-counters to watch their diets. Truth be told, they’ve always been there. It’s just up until about five years ago, people didn’t care to notice. Actually, this summarized the entire concept of eating out. We KNEW the food was fattening, but at least back then we accepted it, so long as the food tasted great and was less than $5 a meal.

When fast food wasn’t getting blamed, it was the fault of snacks like chips and chocolate bars. Schools have even gone as far as to ban soda machines until companies like Coke and Pepsi can replace their product with stuff that’s a little less sugary, which actually is noble. My only gripe with this is the fact that corner stores in America have probably skyrocketed in profits now due to kids not getting their sugar quota at school. So, who’s going to impose limits on that? The government? Yeah, right; like we need more White House-imposed monopolies on goods and services in this country.

Finally (at least for this blog; I could go on this all day), the TV had to take it part in falling on this blubbery sword. I mean, TV has kids (and adults) glued it to for hours after school/work, and not doing the most important thing in fighting overweight/obesity and all the health and money problems that go with it: exercising. Well, what do you expect? School have cut physical education from curriculums, limited play in school with the pansy “No Touch” policies, and haven’t been getting grant money to build playgrounds or renovate gymnasiums or keep open youth centers. All they have now is either the TV or the rickety swings across the street (that some kids can’t play at anyway for fear of getting shot in a crossfire).  And gym memberships have risen to new price heights, that it has made people want to do-it-themselves or stay fat to keep their wallets from becoming skin…uh, ideally weighted.

The guilty party is, as always, personal responsibility. It’s up to the parents to make sure of a few things to stop their kids from swelling up to 200 pounds by age eleven, such as:

One: Regulate their eating habits. Look, I’m not saying things like making their kids go cold turkey from snacks, but giving your kid $4 to get a burger or some chicken wings for dinner every night isn’t helping this kid.

Two:  Get them out the house. Get them away from the TV after school…at least till 8. Enroll them in something; karate, pee-wee football, marching band, Boy or Girls Scouts. ANYTHING. Letting them talk on the phone while watching BET’s latest video kiddie-bop abominations with a bag a Herr’s chips and a Cherry Coke next after school every day to them is leading right down the path to Jellyrollville.

Three: And this is important….START COOKING DINNER!  For the life of me, I can’t understand why the new generation of parents abandoned the concept of cooking for their families. (And the microwave doesn’t count) This is why we needed Home Ec class. Must be this new surge of “independence” everyone feels these days. I guess cooking comes off as being “subservient” to your family or something.

When all is said and done, you can show all the health risks involved in hyper obesity and consistently being overweight, you can diagram all the money the average person spends on take-out over the course of a year, and you can call them any “larger” name in the book; it still doesn’t matter. This goes back to one of my earlier episodes on life in the 2000s, particularly the final point of it. This simply was that people will ultimately choose their own path in life. By now, everyone knows how to eat healthy (or, at the least, less unhealthy), people can exercise regularly and they can control their weight, but it’s up to THEM to stick to it. It’s not an easy task: it takes consistency, patience, and most importantly, hard work. To be honest, to countless folk that make the same New Years’ resolutions to “finally get in shape and eat right” that end up breaking them by Valentine’s Day simply don’t have the patience or want to put in the hard work to see the saga through.

I just hope a war doesn’t break out anytime soon. You know the government already thinks America as a whole is too fat to fight. That being said, it’s time I grabbed my dumbbells and get busy.

6/3/2010

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