The elephant in the room…

This morning while drinking my coffee and eating breakfast, I read the Dear Abby column about the responses to obesity in this country.
I don’t know if you guys have ever used Stumbleupon, but it’s this great internet novelty that literally takes you across all corners of the WWW based on your interests. One of the pages I’ve hit several time is the page listing the old school cigarette ads. Y’all remember those? The ones showing how glamorous and sexy smoking is. All of the old Hollywood movie stars smoked. I don’t recall a John Wayne flick WITHOUT him lighting up.
Smoking was glamorized and well advertised for decades.

Nowadays, smokers are ostracized to the point of city ordinances and laws being enacted to restrict where and when they can partake in the habit. Smokers are picked on by family members, nagged by the anti-smoking ads and laws, kids come home and beg their parents to do the stop smoking for a day thing every November.
The cost of smoking annually exceeds $90BILLION. That’s lost productivity, health care costs, construction for smoking areas, etc. As a result, the national stop smoking campaign is fairly impressive.

I know I opened this post about obesity. I want you guys to think about your reaction to a smoker. I know, in my world, smoking immediately decreases the appeal of any individual. I find the habit repulsive, disgusting, and the smell is more than a lot offensive. Many people are very vocal about sharing that opinion.

“Obesity, and with it diabetes, are the only major health problems that are getting worse in this country, and they are getting worse rapidly,” Frieden [Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] said. “The average American is now 23 pounds overweight.”

The cost of obesity, annually, is over $140BILLION. That’s billion. In direct medical costs. That’s not accounting for clothing, gas, airline tickets, etc. That’s just health costs.

But we can’t talk about it. We can’t discuss how absurdly unhealthy our diet and exercise habits are, without worry and fear of hurting someone’s feelings. We can’t assess the damage of this epidemic and make a rational decision to attack the problem. We can tell smokers how vile they are, but we can’t tell morbidly obese people they have to change. Why?

Both are lifestyle choices, by and large. Nutrition is a CHOICE. Not exercising and playing sports, that’s a choice. Lifestyle is a choice.

We are handicapping our children. Look at your child’s classroom. How many of these children are overweight? How many of them are involved in sports and organized activity? How many of those kids go home at night and eat a prepackaged high sugar high carbohydrate dinner? How many sodas are imbibed by these kids daily? That’s a parenting issue. Parents HAVE to take control of what’s put on the plate, of what they’re allowing their kids to drink, eat, and do.

Stop ignoring the elephant in the room. If we don’t, eventually it’s going to simply take over.

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