Remember when former First Lady Nancy Reagan initiated the “Just say no” campaign against illegal drugs? A nutritionist told me recently why current First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign can’t just say no against over eating because in reality, people do have to eat food (sometime) to survive. But people didn’t need to take illegal, recreational drugs and get addicted.
With that said, over eating and obesity is becoming an American problem. It’s not a problem in Europe or the Far East. It’s not a problem in all 1st world countries, but it is a problem here in America.
A recent report by the Trust for America’s Health ranks Arizona 29 out of 50 states for adult obesity, 15th for childhood obesity. For full report “F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010″, click here. You can also click on Arizona to see the current report for this state.
What are the root causes? Not sure if anyone truly knows, but it’s due to lack of exercise, lack of self control, lack of education about healthy food choices, and Capitalism.
Yes, I will blame capitalism because we have become a more leisure class of people (non agrarian, non agricultural) and due to that, people have more time on their hands than their ancestors, and thus more time to sit around on their couches at home watching TV, playing video games, eating “junk food”, etc.
My four grandparents all worked as laborers in the sugar & pineapple plantations of Hawaii, and none of them was overweight. They had too much work to do, raising all their numerous children and grandchildren as well.
According to Down to Earth website: (www.downtoearth.org)
“America is home to the most obese people in the world. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), obesity in adults has increased by 60% within the past twenty years and obesity in children has tripled in the past thirty years. A staggering 33% of American adults are obese and obesity-related deaths have climbed to more than 300,000 a year, second only to tobacco-related deaths. Not excluded from this statistic, Native Hawaiians have alarmingly high rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The number of Hawaiian children suffering from obesity is double that of children throughout the nation. In May 2001 the University of Hawaii Kinesiology and Leisure Science Department along with the Brigham Young University Exercise and Sport Science Department conducted a local study and found that more than 20% of Hawaiian children were overweight.”
One such overweight Native Hawaiian was beloved musician Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, aka “IZ”. I just read his biography by my Bess Press editor Rick Carroll and sadly realized how little self control IZ had regarding food, which caused him to grow to 700 pounds and contributed to his death at age 38. What a tragedy for such a gifted musician. His death certificate states one of the causes as “morbid obesity.” His overweight, older brother “Skippy” predeceased him, by also dying young (of a sudden heart attack) at age 28.
Why don’t diets work? Because food is such a wonderful reward and easy to obtain, and eating is not illegal, like drugs or alcohol (to under age people) or gambling (most states).
And American fast food is being blamed of course, as it is readily available and less expensive.
As Americans we need to wake up about this growing health crisis and help our children and grandchildren learn to eat healthily, exercise more, and keep that weight off. Over eating is becoming an addiction, and we need to recognize that and work towards solutions together.
Enjoy food, but in moderation. And teach your children about good nutrition.
And if you want to do something about this problem in Tucson, become a “connector” for Pro Neighborhoods, and create a project to help reduce obesity (click here for info).