Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 14 - Fat Americans No more!

Have you ever been over seas?  If so, did you hear "You Amereeecans. You know noth-een about ze food and ze health. All you amereeecans are fat, lazeee, peepul."  To which you find the urge to say "American? No, I'm Canadian. Eh. You hoser."

The reason I bring it up: I just read an article on Yahoo, Why Americans are Overweight and How the Rest of the World is Thin where they discussed the reasons why there is such an obesity problem here in the U.S. versus the rest of the world.  The only thing is, the obesity problem is spreading all across the world now.  There are a lot of good points in this article, but let me just talk about a few.

Obesity boils down to a just few facts.  We are eating more foods with less flavor, more calories, and bigger proportions, and moving around less.  Big shocker right??  Nothing we don't already know.  But let's think about it.  I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, I spent all day outside playing, running around, or biking.  Today, kids spend all day inside watching TV or playing video games. Probably because with the rise of reporting of child abductions, etc., people are scared (and rightfully so) to let their kids out of their sight.

Also, when I was a kid, my mom (or my dad) used to cook dinner.  She wasn't a stay at home mom either. She worked all day long.  And it didn't have to be something elaborate either.  We had a home-made dinner and we ate at the table.  There was no eating dinner on the couch in front of the TV.  It was great family time with good food.  The other thing is, we only really ate out (or ordered in) after our (my sister and my) piano lessons on Tuesdays.  I remember how I was always so excited on Tuesdays, because it was a big deal to have our pizza nights. It was a special occurance.  Now, families are eating out at fast food places so often, it is mundane.  Nothing special here.

There has been a lot of talk over the years about how Europeans are more active than Americans. And let's face it, it's true.  But here's one thing I noticed last time I was in England.  They walk or bike everywhere.  Granted, it is easy to do when you don't have to go very far.  This is a point that many Europeans don't grasp how big our country was and how traveling by vehicle is a necessity about living in the U.S.  For example, I was in a museum in Cambridge, England talking to one of the docents about her recent trip to the states.  She and her friend had bought a rail pass thinking that, like in continental Europe, you can hop on a train, and be at your next destination by tea time.  It was shocking to her that they spent all day on a train and hadn't made it to the next destination.  She said that she really hadn't understood exactly how big the U.S. was.  Even in the cities, it is different.  When I was in Cambridge, you could walk wherever you wanted easily.  Not so here in the states.  So next time a European gives you trouble, just remind them about the vast difference in size our two continents are! :)

The scary thing is, with the spread of fast food franchises, etc. to other countries, along with the on-the-go mentality, obesity is spreading.  The good news is - we, as Americans, are starting to be healthier and being more conscious of the things we are putting into our bodies and being more active. That's a good thing.

I'm not sure if I made any sense above.  But just something to chew over. (No pun intended.)


He Took MY Last Name said...

LOL we are still by far the biggest fatties ever but you know what, its least we have better teeth on average :)

ARJules said...

Okaaaaaaaaay... you have a point. We really do beat all other countries in obesity. But we are working on it right??? :) And yes... much better teeth. My ex-professor is proof of that! But he deserves the bad teeth. Bwah ha ha ha ha!

Merri said...

I live in San Francisco, and lived in Boston before this, and we walk everywhere. It's normal to not have a car, and just walk or take the bus or subway. Ive been doing this my whole adult life, so when I go visit other places and try to walk around and realize how hard/impossible it is, it's really foreign to me. Most of the US has to actually drive places and never walks around as much as the few walking city inhabitents do without even thinking twice. (I am such a bad driver, its much safer for me to walk!). My mother always cooked us dinner too. I saw on the food revolution show what families eat these days and its pretty gross to me.. But youre right its def easier in some parts of us/the world to be healthier without even trying, than it is in other parts. I hope the unhealthy parts don’t infect the healthy ones too too much..

ARJules said...

I live in South Bay Merri!!! We're neighbors. :) Although even down here, it's still hard to get around without a car. Although it is better than a lot of places because of transit. I just love living in cities where you can walk everywhere.

Merri said...

ive never been over there..but we are kinda neighbors. :) i never tend to leave the city..

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