The U.S. is a major world leader in technology and science, military strength and global economy. We are innovators, creators, revolutionaries – whether it be in space technology, computer science or in medicine, America has left its mark in history. And while American names dominate the list of Noble Peace Prize winners in medicine, we also lead the first world in the frequency of diseases associated with obesity such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and cancer. So why is America so fat?
So, how is it that obesity has become such an epidemic in our great nation?
As Americans, we live in a culture of excess, no matter what class we may be in. We are surrounded by it everywhere we look. It is in our government, our families, the places we shop and eat, and even in the bodies of our fellow Americans, our children, and our loved ones. We live in a country that strives to be the best, have the most, and do the most with it, but this is not always a blessing. In some ways, it has become a curse.
We should be asking ourselves why it is normal to have 30-50 oz “big gulp” sodas at our rest stops, why kids are rewarded in school with class pizza parties, why television shows glorifying consuming excessive quantities of fast food are so popular, and why validating people for being unhealthily overweight is encouraged in American culture.
You could blame it on the foods we have here in the states: the fast food chains around every corner, the prevalence of chips and soda in the grocery store shelves, the culture of cheap and instant gratification, but the problem lies further back than that. The problem lies in the reason why all of these unhealthy industries have emerged, and how they have become successful.
The problem lies in the heart of our American culture.
So, we should be asking ourselves, where does this fat culture come from? It’s not just innately in the air around us; it has to have a root.
The root of our obesity epidemic is interwoven with the history of our country. We are a nation born in financial distress as we separated ourselves from the British. We have suffered several devastating economic downturns, and through them our citizens have learned the importance of wealth and stability. Our nation learned two things through times of financial distress that apply to today’s obesity epidemic. First, we learned a lot about hunger. Everyone, even those who had money before, felt the bite of hunger and learned what it felt like to be without. Everyone came out of economic depressions and recessions vowing to never allow themselves to be in that position again. Second, we learned to market that hunger and that distress into something we could make money off of.
Our culture of excess deeply values displays of wealth. This not only makes us over-eat, but it makes us wasteful and lazy. We see our neighbors pull out of their driveways in luxury cars just to go down the street. We hire people to do manual work for us because we don’t want to do it ourselves. We become too obsessed with money to take off work for a half-hour workout.
Over the past 30 some years, obesity rates in American adults have doubled. Obese Americans now even outnumber merely overweight Americans. Along with these rates, rates of deaths attributable to obesity have dramatically increased.
Are we too cowardly to step up and change our future? Are we too caught up in our personal and work lives to set examples for our children? Does adding fourteen years to our lives that we can spend with our loved ones not sound appealing to us?
Health Fitness Revolution challenges you to wake up from the routine of your life and change your body and mind as well as those around you.
People are impressionable. This is the reason why our gluttonous American culture has infiltrated so many of our lives so deeply. However, you can use this impressionability to influence people to live healthy and fit lifestyles. In doing this, you will better lives and help to end premature deaths due to diseases associated with obesity.