Nearly seven years ago, I wrote an article for Go Inside Magazine called Sloth! Apathy! Myopia! in which I argued that much of society’s ills boiled down to three distinct problems — sloth, apathy, and myopia. In the article, I told a fictional tale of a family that, not wanting to spend the time and effort to make themselves a healthier meal at home, go out to an unnamed restaurant with a cheerful yet sinister clown in the front.
The family of four has in front of them four portions of the typical meal for this restaurant – a double layered hamburger, a large portion of fried potato slivers, and enough of the soft drink of their choice that a tea-cup sized puppy would have no problem swimming laps in it. There are surely more calories involved in this one meal than the average human being should consume in one day, but this is not of concern to the family in question.
A day or so after the article was published, a friend of mine suggested that the article was patently offensive and that I was inconsiderate to the plight of the people who were only overweight because of their genes. I asked if she meant to say that the generation of children who may live shorter lives than their parents are this way because of genes — genes that just managed to show up for this generation, yet so few of the generations before it? Just writing the words out on the page made it obvious to me how ridiculous her argument was — and yet she continued to defend her position, saying that more children were overweight as a result of genes than as a result of bad diet and behavior.
It seems that the evidence is increasingly on my side, not that we were having a competition. It was the result of a study of children in Michigan who were at various levels of fitness and quality of diet.
Check-ups of 1,003 Michigan sixth-graders in a school-based health program showed children who are obese were more likely to consume school lunch instead of a packed lunch from home and spend two hours a day watching TV or playing a video game.
We already know that there is no such thing as coincidence so the fact that children have been doing more activities requiring less physical effort and eating more heavily caloric food with no substance and too many calories.
Let us do right by our children and teach them proper eating habits from an early age — less processed food and more purely plant based food. We need more physical activity for our children and less activity that involves sitting for hours at a time.