Supersized America... Really? | Eastern North Carolina Now

America, as a whole, has fallen further and further into a self-destructive pattern. There are several things that can be seen everyday throughout the country, one major issue is that of being overweight.

    America, as a whole, has fallen further and further into a self-destructive pattern. There are several things that can be seen everyday throughout the country, one major issue is that of being overweight. There are so many issues that follow being overweight as well as on the road to becoming so. It is becoming acceptable to take dangerous shortcuts in order to become "healthy" as well as having the issue of being excessively obese both acceptable and frowned upon. In many cases, children today are not given the opportunity to be healthy or it is attempted half-heartedly. As a nation, America is viewed as being fat and lazy, which is becoming more and more of a reality rather than a stereotype.

    There is a not-so fine line between big and ridiculous. To quote the comedian Gabriel Iglesias there were five levels of "fat" but now there are six which are "big, healthy, husky, fluffy, d*mn, and now there's oh h*** no". Everyone knows exactly what those levels mean, which is truly a tragedy in its self. It has gotten to the level where people have gotten to the point where they can no longer walk; they have to "hover-round town". At what point do people give up to the extent that they become handicapped? It's sad that people have to be literally cut out of their houses because they can't physically get up or even fit through the door if they could.

    The root of all of this obesity is due to the desire to have limitless options that require little to no effort. Within the past two to three decades, America has been on an upwardly down spiral. Making modern advances and living faster-paced lives has caused the quality of life to be directly affected in a negative way; most of which starts at home. The up rise of young and single parents, in a poor economy, have to spend more time working, either multiple jobs or working late to meet deadlines, has largely affected the next generation. Parents taking a "shortcut" by heavily relying on fast foods and tv dinners, which in turn deprive children of fundamental nutrients as well as becoming psychologically reliant on cheap "to-go meals". There are several things that are obtained by having a home cooked meal and everyone sitting at the table eating together. Home cooked meals tend to be healthier due to fewer preservatives and processing. Also, time together with the family helps to establish morals, and family bonding. Now, due to economic hardships and in a rising number of cases, the stress of raising a child on a highly limited budget, it seems easier and cheaper to simply pick up food on the go.

    Most "health food" is either ridiculously expensive, time consuming, or not appealing. Even at fast food establishments, salads and fruit are more than a burger and fries. With restaurants efforts to comply with a demand of healthier alternatives, they still are filled with preservatives and chemicals. By looking at the nutritional labels most restaurants are either posting on products or online, you notice that what you think are healthy alternatives are surprisingly not that much better than the greasy foods. Packing lunch, either a sandwich or leftovers from a previously home cooked meal (not leftover pizza) will save money, gas, time, and stress associated with driving, finding and ordering food from somewhere else during a short lunch break. Also, by spending a little money on healthier meals, money is saved on future medical expenses caused by being overweight. The other side of obesity's main root is also associated with time, which is lack of exercise.

    By being busy and "not having enough time" there has been a vast pandemonium of weight loss short-cut remedies. There have been ab-belts so sit-ups are a thing of the past (which sends electrical impulses to the abs, which cannot be good for muscles in the long run) and an overflowing amount of pills and dietary supplements. These solutions advertise that you don't need to change your daily routine, which also sounds a bit suspicious, yet on every bottle or piece of "magic weight-loss" there is a nutritional pamphlet to do in excess of what you just spent a fortune on. The nutritional pamphlet always states that you need to exercise regularly, drink a ton of water, and eat right (with some of their recipes or products). These products could be a placebo and the product was a huge unnecessary expense. Some people may need to feel that their newly acquired product is the motivation and excuse that they needed to get started, which is, in retrospect, better than doing nothing at all; but is usually a waste of money and can be potentially dangerous due to the ingredients or nature of the product. Wanting to live healthier is not and should not be considered an issue of normality or appearance; it is most importantly an issue of overall wellbeing.

    Pressures put on society, not only teens and children but adults as well, by television and other media are causing healthy people to falsely believe there is something wrong with them. This poor self-image causes unhealthy attempts of being skinnier than need be, or the opposite and just giving up and then an issue does occur. When overweight or obese there are both physical and psychological issues that arise over time. Generally, people that are excessively overweight begin to have troubles with their joints, especially the knees; which causes the inability to exercise and that's when a hover-round starts to look very tempting. Where is this "tipping point", when is there's no going back? There is a huge controversy as to what is causing this increase in obesity; is it genetics/ hormones, metabolism, pure choice, or some combination of it all? Its one thing to see an adult overweight, and you think to yourself "wow, what happened to them", but when you see an obese child it's so sad because they don't have the chance to make their own decisions yet, and when they can it will be too late. When a child grows up being overweight or being in a household that's overweight, parents must remember that children learn by example. There shouldn't be the situation in the film Big Daddy of "would someone give the kid a happy meal!?" Now, fast food chains are making an effort in the kid's meals as well by offering milk (both white and chocolate) and apples (which are served with caramel sauce and have preservatives) rather than soda and fries; which are good steps but are still only baby steps. This brings up the next issue that is clouding healthy judgment, limitless options.

    Americans are lucky enough to have the freedom to live just about any way they so choose, which is wonderful, but some people take their freedom for granted. There seems to be a limitless supply and variety of foods readily available whenever it's deemed convenient; which is both good and bad. Food companies are trying to make healthier alternatives by having things baked, less sodium, or "100 calorie packs" which are still mostly affordable. However, people are reluctant to try these new products because they have been tainted by the stereotype of "if it's health-food then it tastes like cardboard" despite some commercial's best efforts to reverse this mindset. Even with staying affordable, the healthier snacks are in smaller amounts for more money than the original with not as much taste. The typical portion amounts given in snacks and meals have doubled and even tripled; some meals are given with the purpose for you to have leftovers, but people see an amount on their plate and think they have to eat it all because when growing up "you have to clean your plate". Not only have portions spiraled out of control but the variety of things being fried is unheard of. State fairs are the ring leaders in these unhealthy foods along side of the fast food industry; there are either foods fried or on a stick that should never have been allowed to be so. The amount of foods from fried cookies, ice cream, cheese curds, and pickles to spaghetti and meatballs on a stick are just unsettling. A lot of restaurants have a majority of their foods fried in some form or fashion with little to no grilled alternatives. Eating certain thins is one thing, but then again, we go back to that dirty eight-letter word... exercise.

    Aside from a poor diet, lack of exercise is at the root of obesity. This circles back to having no time and looking for a lazy way out either with a gimmicked weight loss gadget, pills, or worse. Some people try all the gimmicks and for some even eating right exercise and drinking plenty of water doesn't work because they're so far gone; and since nothing seems to work so they turn to dangerous surgeries. In certain cases a surgery can be life saving, but other is for pure cosmetic purposes, then after surgery some even fall right back into their old ways. Another way that people attempt to lose weight is by fasting or going through a cleanse or detoxing, which can also be dangerous. There are pros and cons to every situation, the main goal is to try and get and stay healthy in a safe way.

    America is becoming more health conscience and industries are trying to find a way to satisfy this wave any way they can and make a profit. Options and laziness/ lack of time is found to be one of the top excuses for not eating right and not exercising. In some ways our nation needs to revert back a few decades where meals were cooked at home, families enforced good morals and precedents. The surge of advancements in today's society has produced laziness because that's what the goal was. Now, by having everything made easier the country's health and quality has suffered greatly.
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Somebody said:
( August 9th, 2011 @ 5:21 pm )
Leslie, I totally agree with your editorial. Although all weight gain is not due to overeating and underexercising, a heavy portion of it is. Many weight control companies are making millions of dollars off of weight loss by marketing pills. The magic pill. However, if you read the label they all say to use with a good diet and exercise. Well, duhh! If you had a good diet and exercise in the first place what do you need the pill for.
I would also like to add that parents must remember that they are the ones doing the grocery shopping and the cooking for their children and need to take responsibility for their children's health. Don't just pass the blame, do something about it. Derell
( August 9th, 2011 @ 4:46 pm )

I love your article, in part, on the lighter side of living heavy.

This has become a national epidemic, and actually, it is a personal problem that can be best corrected through one's total dedication to the maxim of severe lifestyle transformation.

At BCN, we appreciate all comments and articles by folks who well know this challenge, and are on some path to correct their lifestyle.

BCN, and our sister publications - Pitt County Now and Craven County Now - comprise the largest News and Information Web presence in Northeastern North Carolina. Your (the public at large) contributions will be read, and will make a difference to others, who endure this daily ordeal of living heavy.

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