It really started in the '40s when Ray Kroc opened his first restaurant that parlayed into a franchise-rich fast-food empire that is still alive and thriving.
We can’t blame poor Ray for the entire trend of the fattening of America because it actually is something that was caused by many events that took place over the decades and moved us into a downward health spiral. Don’t forget Swanson and Birdseye with their TV Dinners in neat little tin foil compartments for each little entrée filled with sodium laced veggies and “meat”.
I am not an expert on this trend by any means. However, I am an active participant like most of the U.S. population on a regular basis with an occasional move in the direction of healthy living for about two months at most.
I could spew out statistics but that seems unnecessary. All one has to do is take a walk through a mall or go anywhere people gather and you see the result. As Americans, we have become accustomed to instant gratification. Almost all day, you can go to any drive-up fast food joint and there are at least 3-4 cars waiting for the unhealthy meal or meals we see advertised on TV. We make excuses about the time we don’t have to cook healthy too. But yet we’ll sit and watch Sunday football for hours, play video games, troll the internet and do various other unproductive activities that add to the problem of obesity.
Of course, the government talks about the unhealthy state of our kids, yet they practically eliminate physical education classes because there is not enough money in the budget. If kids today get 1 day a week where they are let loose on the playground they are very lucky. As a kid, we had a 45-minute class, got dressed out, exercised, and played physically challenging games every day. The school gyms were opened at night for those who wanted to play basketball and we had recreation leagues that were both competitive and physically challenging. When we left school after a long day the first thing we did was head for the stickball field or football field for more activity. I can’t remember ever seeing a kid that was obese during my elementary school years. Today, kids immediately turn on the TV or their x-box to play video games until dinner and then again until bedtime; sometimes even eating in front of the TV.
If a foreign power wants to take over our country all they have to do is sit back and be patient. Pretty soon no one will be able to move and defend our country because of the habits we have learned over the last 50—70 years.
I’ve presented some of the problems that have caused the situation we have today and I almost never want to do that without offering solutions. Any solution almost always has to start at home with parents controlling what their kids do with their spare time. I’m not saying total control but make sure that physical activity is part of every day. Schools have to reinstate the full period of physical education where they also teach nutrition and healthy habits. We will always hear, we can’t afford it but the real truth is we cannot afford not to do it because the future of our nation depends on it.
Again, I’m not an expert but just an observer and I am as guilty as the rest; I am driving one of those four or five cars waiting in line at the fast-food joint for my meal because I have been conditioned to do so and I am too lazy to cook a decent meal or choose the healthy option on the menu.
It’s time to break the hold that convenience has on us. Let’s slow down, take time to smell the roses, and stop the habits that are reducing our life span and as the Crosby, Stills, and Nash song says, “Teach Your Children Well”.
Oh wait, I think I just had a Big Mac attack.
See you later.