Hundreds of years ago we did not have a problem with obesity. We were out there tilling the fields and physically working hard. Food was not so easily available either. We live in a culture where in most families both people work so finding time to make a meal isn't easy. On top of that many people do not really know how to cook. It isn't that fast food is cheaper than a healthy home cooked meal it is just easier. You can buy a big package of chicken thighs and make them at home for less than a bucket of KFC.
There was the tragic high school shooting last week Ohio. Why guns so easily available is a whole other issue so I am going to stay on the obesity track. The day after the shooting there was a picture in the NYTimes of the students marching arm and arm as a tribute to those injured and killed. What struck me about the photo is that the majority of the students were chunky. Not heavy but all could stand to lose 10 – 20 lbs. If they are looking like that in high school when they are young and active what are they going to look like in ten or twenty years. It set me back.
I live in NYC. We walk everywhere. So even if you don't get exercise, you could clock in some serious mileage walking around the town. For whatever reason, in a city that has access to some of the most amazing meals and food on every corner there are not a lot of large people walking around this town at first glance so maybe that is why that photo made me take pause.
I love Michele Obamas campaign called Let's Move that hopefully will educate more people in their communities about obesity being a national epidemic. We spend more time being inactive that active in our daily lives. We should bring home economics, physical education and even shop back to the education curriculum so people can move, learn how to make healthy food and even hammer in a nail. Those basic fundamentals are one of the steps in getting people to be healthy. OK so learning how to hammer in a nail isn't about healthy living but I do think it is important to learn.
Weigh gain is about unhealthy eating and poor diets. There is this explosion around the indie food industry that is about local products, interesting products and better made products…how do we translate that excitement around a growing industry into teaching everyone to learn how to eat healthy and exercise. As consumers we should force companies to focus on healthy products but at the end of the day it has to start in the school system through education. It has to start when the kids are young otherwise we will be seeing a serious drain on our health system in the years to come. I fear we already do.