What went wrong? How did we go from a society where 3% of the population were obese to one that is 40% obese? All this in approximately 30-35 years. Can it all be attributed to a decrease in level of activity and an increase in intake of unhealthy foods? Can we also put the blame on the mass influx in population from countries that produced large (‘heavy’) people, which also introduced their native diets? I’m sure they all contribute. But what can we do about it now?
Experts have urged people to lose weight for their health. Now, they are urging them to lose weight for the environment. It sounds almost funny that the ‘green’ campaign has extended to almost every facet in life. We are advised not to waste as this is not ‘green’. We should recycle and eat leftovers. However, sometimes there is not enough for an actual ‘leftover’ serving, so someone has to eat it up. This, then, encourages overeating so as not to waste. Yet, it will worsen that particular individual’s weight and health.
Obesity is an economic burden. The cost of health care for obesity-related complications is enormous. Now, the experts tell us that the overeating culture costs us in terms of food and fuel consumption. The increase in food production and car emissions increases greenhouse gases. We all know that transporting a fat person around uses more energy. If it is in terms of motorised transport, we are talking fuel. If it is in terms of personal transport, we are talking fat.
These ‘green’ experts are telling us that one of the ways to reduce greenhouse emissions is to return to the slim and trim days of the 1970s. Hah! As if that was so easy. Have we not been preaching weight loss for ages? Are people finally going to listen just because we tell them that it is good for the environment if they lose weight? It takes more than just a lot of rhetoric to change people’s attitudes and behaviours.
We need real ideas on how to tackle the obesity issue. I don’t like the idea of taxation because I don’t feel it would work. Like the chocolate tax that one doctor advocated. However, taxation would certainly help to fund the health care for these people, not to mention funding the ‘green’ campaign. Obese people have to pay for two seats on airlines, how about buses? What would happen if restaurants decided to serve a set portion size for obese people, like some bartenders turning away drinkers who’ve had one too many? How about, instead of rewarding misbehaving kids at school with X-Box, the teachers make them run laps in the field? Exercise helps reduce stress and anxiety and may calm those kids down, rather than shortening their already short attention span with X-Box and Playstations. These ideas may be absurd and unfair to some, but at least they are concrete and not just words on a poster.