Why are most Americans overweight?

1 03 2007

Tuesday night I watched The O’Reilly Factor while eating supper, and Bill was debating with a woman who was representing the group National Action Against Obesity.  She took the position that the Girl Scouts should not be allowed to sell their cookies any more because they are making Americans fat.  She also took the angle that it is fund-raiser for a civic group, although I think that’s irrelevant.  The Girl Scouts want to raise money, and if they switch to selling boxes of fruit, I guarantee they won’t sell as many.  (FYI, they’ve raised $700 million selling cookies.)  Perhaps the group that has a problem with this should just donate money to the Girl Scouts because they aren’t capable of eating just a couple of cookies per day.

This is not just a problem with Girl Scout cookies, however.  Also in the news, Prince Charles is making remarks about banning McDonalds in the UK.  In 2003, there was a lawsuit in California to ban the sale of Oreos to children.  Notice how the blame is always put on the junk food or fast food, rather than the people who eat it.

I agree that obesity is a big problem in America, and something should be done about it.  But the problem is not with the Girl Scouts selling cookies or there being a McDonalds or Taco Bell near your house.  Anyone with any degree of knowledge about nutrition can look at the nutritional information and realize those foods aren’t very good for you.  Eating at Taco Bell once or twice a month isn’t that bad, but eating there several times a week is.  Common sense should reveal these things.

Here’s what needs to happen.  First, people need to be educated on how to eat healthy and why it’s important.  I suspect most people know they should eat more lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, rather than eating more fast food.  Part of the education emphasis needs to be on the dangers of obesity.  Not only does being overweight reduce your energy and stamina, it also increases your risk of health problems, particularly later in life.  People need to be aware of the risks.  Second, people need to take responsibility for their own health.  (There, I said it.  You probably guessed that was coming.)  If you’re overweight, you should eat more healthy foods, eat less junk food, eat smaller portions, and exercise more.  It’s that simple.  You don’t need special diet pills or dangerous diets that do weird things to your body.  It’s your choice, and it’s your responsibility.

With all this in mind, let’s quit blaming companies that sell food.  I know it’s easier to say it’s Nabisco’s fault that I’m fat, because they sell Oreos and I really like to eat them.  But I can just not buy them, or I can eat less of them.  It really is that simple.  I also like Girl Scout cookies, but I limit myself to eating no more than two or three per day.  I could probably eat a whole box at once, but that’s not healthy, so I refrain from it.

By the way, I realize that I’m somewhat overweight, so I’m also “preaching” to myself, but I take full responsibility for my size.  I’m overweight because I really like to eat and I don’t get enough exercise on a consistent basis.  But I am trying to lose weight.




2 responses

1 03 2007

I heard on Sean Hannity’s radio show yesterday about a t-shirt that said something like this: “If guns kill people, then spoons make Rosie O’Donnell fat.” I thought it was very funny, yet very profound in how it points out the absurdity of blaming everyone and everything except for the ones responsible.

2 03 2007

Guns don’t kill people…

I do…

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