Health

Everything’s Bigger In America

middle aged women, fat
by
April 27th, 2012

I’ve got the magic bullet for America’s obesity problem: Let’s all take a trip together to one of our beloved national parks. National parks are the great vacation equalizer. Rich or poor, a first-hand look at America’s family jewels are on every traveler’s wish list. So let’s go together and take a good gawk. While our souls soar with the majesty of this bountiful land, our jaws will drop at the girth of… its impossibly oversized inhabitants. Grand Canyon, indeed — My fellow Americans, we are grossly overweight. Maybe if we all stand there together and really see what we look like, shame will drive our fast food nation off a cliff. Or at least get me some spinach at the lodge salad bar instead of the limp iceberg that the huddled masses trampled on their third pile-up at the chicken wings.

I’m not talking about the few extra pounds most of us put on in middle age, or weight caused by unavoidable conditions. I’m not talking about what would pass for average weight if our benchmark wasn’t an American Apparel billboard. I am talking about the shocking excess baggage that I saw on my spring break national parks tour. Men and women of all races lugging 50, 75, 100 extra pounds along the beeline to the buffet.

Maybe you’ve seen Super Size Me or read Food, Inc. We’ve heard the statistics like our mortifying diabetes rate, or that, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, by 2000 U.S. women were consuming 22% more calories daily than in 1971. (I’m sure it’s higher now.) But I live in the city, where you tend to see less of this kind of weight gain. When I came face-to-face with the true size of America, it turned me off the drive-through for good.

This is not about where you live. If you’re more than a few pounds over your natural body weight for your age, you’re pushing up health care costs, our taxes… and probably daisies far sooner than you’d like to. Take a hard look at your eating habits and get back to a healthy body weight. You’ll feel better, live longer, and you’ll improve the view at our national parks!

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