Monday, May 23, 2011

W20, Day 7: One Nation, Overweight

I watched tonight a replaying of a show on CNBC called One Nation, Overweight about the ever growing problem of obesity.  The show looked at various aspects of the "disease".  I found it extremely interesting that they called obesity a disease, whereas other people might call it a choice.  Anyway, they brought up some interesting factoids like:
  • At the current rate of increase, within 10 years 42% of the U.S. population will be obese.  That's a terrible, huge number!  
  • This current generation of kids may be the first generation in our country to have shorter lifespans than their parents. 
The show then went on to look at all the foods that are in grocery stores and about how it's all about profit by pushing crap foods on people.  I myself find that to be very challenging whenever I go to the grocery store.  I try to avoid looking at any of the aisles too quickly, rushing in to buy the essentials and getting out of there as quickly as possible.  Crap food stares out at me from every aisle.  Imagine the cereal aisle.  Then think about how kids are bombarded with advertisements about sugary cereals in all their programming.  It's like they're being brainwashed into wanting junk.  Kids aren't the only ones.

But carrying on the kid idea, the show focused on how many high schools sell candy.  In times of major budget cuts, this is a way for schools to raise money for clubs and sports activities, but at what cost? You might say, it's only a candy bar.  But it isn't.  Not for kids who are obese.  I'll tell you a secret:  my senior year of high school I gained thirty pounds.  Why?  Was it because of what I ate at home?  No, not really, we ate pretty decently.  The real reason was candy at school.  I couldn't stop myself.  I remember begging a friend not to sell me candy, and then by first recess begging her to sell it to me.  I wouldn't have eaten it if it hadn't been there at school with me.  I know, I know, my fault for making the choice and I chose wrongly.  But what if I had never had to make that choice?  I don't want to ruin it for everyone else, but I truly don't believe in selling junk food to kids--including soda--at school.

Anyway, if you ever have a chance to watch the show, I highly recommend it.  I got a bit uncomfortable when one CEO said that he wouldn't hire anyone who was obese if he could get away with it because of the greater health care costs of that employee.  The counter argument was that policies like that discriminate against people unfairly, saying: "[Obesity] is a complex issue...and it's short-sided to say you choose or don't chose health," meaning that there are plenty of people out there like me trying to choose what's right, but struggling along the way.  Is it fair to discriminate hiring people like me?  Of course I have to say "No"!  But what about the  employer's added costs?  Still other employers are doing all sorts of incentive programs that seem to be having good effect with helping their employees lose weight and be more healthful.  Maybe that's the way to go?

In other news, good reader, guess what?  I'm finally going to do it, to take the join out local gym.  I've been waiting for our new local gym to open and at long last, it's opening on June 1st, one day before I get out for summer break.  Coincidence?  I think not!

Here's a link to the show information:

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