I was reading Losing Waists post and I started getting worked up about something off her topic, but related. I soon knew I had a lot of thoughts, so thought I'd move over here and write them down. Thanks to LW for a great post and the food for thought btw, I highly recommend it, and all of her stuff actually, she's an excellent inspiration.
Okay, here's what bothers me: People can't figure out why we have an "Obesity Epidemic". Or if they think they can, they're wrong (i.e. because McDonald's & fast food places market so gosh darn effectively to kids and families)
Well wait, first off let me preface by saying that yes, it is an epidemic. There is an Obesity Epidemic. An epidemic qualifies as something that "is affecting a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time" The number of obesity in America over the last 20 years has become exactly that.
Alright, here ladies and gentlemen, is the reason we have that Obesity Epidemic. One reason is our diet as Americans (hormones, additives, worse food available easier, etc.) and one is inadequate treatment for thyroid and metabolism issues, and one is that kids are being raised with much less physical activities and much worse diets .
But HERE, is the main reason:
Throughout the history of humanity there has been people with issues: ranging from normal, to more serious, to severe. By issues I mean they were neglected growing up, or abandoned, physically abused, emotionally abused, sexually abused, were victims of alcoholic/drug addict parents, witnessed horrific things, had depression or other chemical imbalances, etc. These people are far more prevalent historically, and currently, that will ever be fully known. Suffice to say these people have been, and are, everywhere.
Here's how the average American lived from the creation of our country until the mid part of the last century: 1) Worked hard: either on farm, started profession (generally manual labor) at extremely early age, lots more manual labor work in general (agriculture, service, industrial, etc.) no computer programmers, secretaries, and other sedentary jobs - even the salesmen were frequently door to door instead of sitting at a desk on a phone. 2) Food consumption was less, less available/cheap bad food (fast food, cheap supermarket crap, etc.), less emphasis on eating (no commercials in magazines, TV, movies, newspapers, billboards, hats, cars, signs, saying to eat), and again, most importantly, what people WERE eating was being worked off in their daily routine.
Okay, having established the difference that existing between our culture for several hundred years and the last 50, lets go back to taking a look at that significant portion of the population that has always struggled with deep rooted issues because of any of the causes listed earlier, etc. Those people for the first couple hundred years in America may have become drunks, or drug addicts. They may have taken out their issues through spousal assault, may have have been sexually promiscuous to the point of serious personal detriment, may have floundered throughout life unable to cope, may have been called a crazy person, may have become a gambler and ruined their lives financially, may have simply led extremely unproductive, unhappy lives. WHY might they have done and/or become all those things? Because they COULD.
You know what was HARD to do then?
Sit on your ass all day and eat. Only the very rich could afford that.
Guess what? Now anyone can. Now tons of jobs that even middle class and even poverty level people have require no physical labor. Now the cheapest food to buy for you and/or your family are Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Little Debbie snack cakes, Ramen noodles, double cheeseburgers, $5 dollar little ceasar pizza, kool-aid, etc. Now even more middle class and poverty level people have a roof over their head and a couch and a TV. Now financial irresponsibility runs rampant, so its possible to become sedentary and eat tons without even having much of a job, or even one at all depending on what government assistance you qualify for.
SO, while your average person might become heavy these days or even obese because of a sedentary lifestyle filled with poor food options that America more easily offers than ever before, I believe the huge amount of people in this country who are REALLY obese people; those 5'4 women going 280, the 5'8 women going 360, the 5'10 guys going 410, and the 6'3 guys going 500, 600, 700, 800 pounds. Those people would've turned to one of the twenty ways you could deal with having issues in your life 80, 150, 200 years ago that I mentioned above (drugs/alcohol, abusing others, gambling, sex, hold it inside and lash out, etc.)
I think that's it.
What is food, but the latest great vice of a nation full of them. A nation full of people just trying to get by and live a good life, but overwhelmed by some of their struggles, and in need of what often amounts to misguided "solutions" to their problems.
And don't get me wrong, I don't think it's society's fault, or the media, or the fast food places fault that obese people get obese. It's still a symptom that each person is responsable for recognizing and then working to heal themselves and there issues and get healthy, but it's still frustrating how off track the mentality of the country is around the issue
For instance, I think nobody on a national scale acknowledges the facts on the matter because there's very few votes to be gained by talking about those massive fundamental problems that hide in every dark corner of our society. There's few votes to be gained by recognizing that obesity is about more than fat people not exercising and eating too much.
There's few votes to be gained by recognizing that the "Obesity Epidemic" is just the most recent epidemic in a long line of them that are simply human beings trying to cope with issues in life that are painful or hard to deal with. It's just a problem now because for the first time in American history, circumstances (availability of food, culture around food, sedentary lifestyle, etc.) are such that it CAN be.
Sadly, there are of course plenty of votes to be gained from grandstanding about this darn nemesis of good old American can-do-ness: the Obesity Epidemic. There's plenty of votes to be gained from taking coke machines out of schools and encouraging people to just stop eating at fast food places so darn much!
Anyway, I have plenty more thoughts on what role obesity and obese people can, do, should, or shouldn't play in society, or how I feel about how society treats me and other obese people, but I'll save those for another day.
For today I just felt like I needed to get out some frustration around the media, the government, and society generally scratching their heads or pointing to misguided studies to try to solve this obesity issue. This apparent enigma of a problem, wrapped in mystery, inside a riddle.
They can't see that while plenty of people still smoke some pot or beat their wife to cope, other people now (BECAUSE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY, THEY CAN) stuff their face with a few extra double cheeseburgers in between breaks at their job sitting typing reports?