What a world we live in…

I was flipping through some channels tonight and stumbled across a show I’d been wanting to watch for a little while. The show is called Penn & Teller’s Bulls***. From watching that one show, it would appear they dissect issues that most of us seem to overlook but are actually crucial issues to our daily lives. Tonight’s episode was – Food.

Granted, I only caught the last 10 minutes of the show, but what an interesting 10 minutes it was.

Now, it’s no secret that there are more and more over weight and obese people. I think the last statistic was something like 17% here in the US. Sadly, most of the developed world is not too far behind that statistic. Why? Because we now lead largely sedentary lives. Most of us spend more than 7 hours a day sitting down at our jobs and rarely get any strenuous exercise throughout the week. In today’s society, there is very little need for any kind of physical exertion. I for one, literally sit down all day, with the exception of the occasional bathroom and food break, for which I will be seated the majority of the time any way!

With this kind of lifestyle, we are ultimately in control of our physique and our dietary intake. If we eat even moderate quantities of food with little physical output, the greater majority of the sugars, carbohydrates and fats will be deposited on our body as fat. It is VERY difficult to remove that fat once it has found its way on to our bodies without putting in some serious work to do so. All that being said, that is not the point of this article.

The thing that REALLY caught my attention is that things are getting so bad here in the US, that there are now people lobbying for governmental control of our dietary intake and heavy taxation of soft drinks and high fructose, high fat foods. Basically, anything we purchase at ANY fast food restaurant, will be either government regulated and/or heavily taxed. We will LITERALLY be told what we can and cannot eat. WHAT THE FUCK!?

How pretentious are these pricks that they would presume to tell me what is best for me? Am I not a grown man? Have I not proven that I’m perfectly capable of feeding myself and providing for my family? How would these dick heads like it if they were told they HAD to eat a high fat diet for the rest of their lives? Now, I’m all for government regulation, but it has to be in areas where people are being hurt or cheated by corporations and big businesses. Insurance costs should be regulated. Health care should be regulated. Dietary intake regulation? Um… I think not. Next we’ll be told what we should be wearing, then we’ll be told what we should be thinking, then we’ll all be goose stepping down the road, rifles over our shoulder, brainwashed by government propaganda.

Now, I would be the first to stand up and say there is WAY too much fast food available here in the US. However, as the show made completely clear, it is often easier, both financially and time wise, to feed a family on fast food than it is to buy groceries and prepare meals. An example was made of a family of four, where both parents had to work long hours to pay the bills. It was MUCH easier for them to order KFC after work, than it would be to come home after a long day at work to prepare a meal. Not only that, it was cheaper! Just over $20 to feed a family of four! You can’t always do that with store bought goods! I would say the average meal for us (Jennifer, Lilyana and myself) would be close to $15 a day for the three of us – and one of us is only two years old! As Lily gets older, that cost will inevitably go up substantially.

If the tobacco industry is anything to go buy, increasing taxation on a product will only hurt the people that actually use the product. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. The recently increased the taxes on tobacco here, raising the cost of a pack of cigarettes from around $2.50 to almost $4.00, per pack. Now, I know that is miniscule compared to the $13.50+ in New Zealand, but the principal still holds true. People will cut their spending else where, to get what they want and that OFTEN means children will go with out new clothes, new school supplies, or God forbid, something to eat.

The ONLY way to fight the so called epidemic of obesity is through the education of both children and parents, now! Habits don’t change because someone tells us they should. Habits change when we are confronted with the reality of our current lifestyle. The attitude towards smoking has changed substantially over the last 20 years. When I was six years old, I could buy a packet of cigarettes at any convenience store. By the time I was 10, that was not possible anymore. By the time I was 20 the number of smokers between the ages of 20 and 40 had been cut almost in half and I believe that number is still declining.

Now, we must start educating people of the perils of poor dietary habits. Maybe, just maybe, we might see a decline in obesity, most notably child obesity, before our children start having children of their own. There is nothing worse than seeing children suffering from diseases that are typically adult diseases. Heart problems, hypertension, strokes, diabetes. Children are not capable of making the right decision for themselves. We, as parents, need to stand in the gap for our children and ensure they eat well. Children emulate their parents more than most parents would care to admit. If we don’t start now, we doom them and their children to consequences of our decisions.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

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