Friday, January 25, 2013
In the last week or so I have seen it said in comments on blogs that most of us in the US are too heavy. To me, this is not precisely true. Most people here on Spark are at least at the median income plus for the country. We own computers, have internet access, and have enough money to choose what we eat. The obesity rates for most of us, the at least middle class, is nowhere near as high as it is for those of lower income. I couldn't find it for adults but the rate doubles for kids. In my life I see this in schools. I worked at an elementary school where lower income kids attended. Yup, fully 40% were noticeably heavy. Then looked at my kids private school, one heavy child in the entire elementary grades. The parents of 90% of the kids at the private school were not obese. So if "us" was the higher income people at that school- nope- most of us don't need to lose weight.
When I was in college, I lived with a friend from high school who had 2 kids and lived on welfare. There wasn't really enough food and her philosophy was better ramen noodles for the kids, than going to bed hungry. I suspect there are a lot of people like that. They eat junk because it is better than going to bed hungry after not being able to buy enough healthy food to nourish them.
I recognize there will always be some overweight people, it is said St Thomas Aquinas had to have the table cut at his monastery to accommodate his belly. I also think there are many people who hit middle age and get sedentary and gain 10-20 pounds over what they should weigh. I doubt this accounts for the "Obesity crisis", people have always been prone to that.
Most of the people I know who have huge weight problems have a past with income problems too. My husband says the same about the people he works with and himself. I am certain there are exceptions but maybe instead of berating people for not taking this seriously enough or living an unhealthy lifestyle, we should be taking a close look at the messages we as a culture are embracing. My mom grew up dirt poor during the depression. She can remember there only being cornmeal in the house to eat and being very hungry but once her family got a garden, they ate very healthy. Home grown veggies, whole grains, home grown eggs and meat. How has the culture of the poor changed so much? Are they/we so hooked on instant gratification? Is it the desperate need to get the most for our money regardless of quality(more for less, my husband's theory)? I wish I had the answer.