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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Obesity and the City.......

The Mayor of New York City is taking on childhood obesity.
Good for him.
He's starting with sodas.
I guess everyone has to start somewhere.....

For an interesting look at the sides of the issue---check out this article..... 

No matter how you feel about Mayor Bloomberg's ban on big sodas, the fact that he is focusing national attention and instigating discussion on the issue of obesity are good things.   The fact that he actually considers it his job to deal with the issue of childhood obesity shows a whole different side to politics.  A good side. 

It's no secret that obesity is a true epidemic.  And, sadly, childhood obesity is more than an epidemic--it's an open gaping wound that needs healing. 
Besides the all-important health issues---there are the heartbreaking issues of self image, bullying, depression and isolation.  No child should have to suffer these life-altering tragedies. 
Thankfully, as a child, I did not have to deal with obesity.  I was spared the albatross of excess weight well into adulthood.  Sure, there were moments when I thought I was fat.
I was wrong.  
 Looking back--I was not fat until years beyond my childhood. 
I had many good years of normal weight.  I was one of the lucky ones. 
Sure, I knew childhood obesity. 
Childhood obesity has a name--FAT.  
I have memories of fat kids.  Fat kids at school.  Fat kids in my neighborhood. Fat kids in my family.  Fat kids at the pool.  Fat kids everywhere. 
In the 60's and 70's--that's just what they were--FAT KIDS.  
There was the jolly fat kid.  The funny fat  kid.  The fat bully kid.  The fat quiet kid. The fat bookworm kid.   The fat ugly kid. The fat clumsy kid.  The fat stupid kid.  The sloppy fat kid. The weird fat kid.  The fat fat kid.  
Today, as I type these words, I cringe in shame. 
Being a kid is hard enough.  
My lucky not-fat childhood  didn't teach me that being a fat kid was super hard. 
I'm guessing that many kids of this generation don't get it either.
Thankfully, someone of influence is getting it.
The Mayor of New York is tackling those things that he has the power to tackle.
And, he is starting small.  
He's looking to take a Big Gulp out of one of the things that is known to contribute to obesity--oversized sugary sodas.  
Sure, it's raising lots of debate.
As to be expected.  
Everyone is entitled to their opinions.
People have to guard their businesses and their rights and their desires. 
Everyone has a different stance on how far government should be involved in our lives.
And, everyone has a completely different view on what obesity is and how to deal with it---is it a medical issue or an environmental issue?
Regardless of which it is--we all know that if you consistently eat or drink far too many calories and overdo it on fats and sugars---your weight and your health will be effected. 
Sugars and fats impact us---whether we inherited the obesity gene or we have a medical condition that causes obesity or we were raised in an environment that triggered our obesity. 
I, for one, know that by just eliminating big drinks won't stop childhood obesity.  
There's more to blame  that just those BIG DRINKS! 
I have long held to the belief that if fast foods were significantly more expensive (no more $1 burger deals!) and harder to get (DRIVE THRUS!) and healthy foods were very inexpensive to buy and very easy and convenient to access, it would have an impact on lowering the obesity rate.
These are the easy things, I recognize that. 
I realize that poor eating habits and overeating in childhood can be traced back to many, many factors that legislation may never be able to tackle.  I certainly understand that.  
But, I think we need to give Mayor Bloomberg some credit and a round of applause for taking the time and putting himself out there on an issue that seems a bit petty yet explosive! 
Sure, I'd rather have government and leaders spend more time dealing with crime and other atrocities such as drug addiction and sexual abuse than on engaging in hours and hours of law writing and rhetoric on oversized drinks.    
Even so---the fact that people are sitting up and taking notice is possibly bringing this country one eensy beensy step closer to really dealing with and possibly curing obesity.

New Yorkers:  if you are really that thirsty, drink water.   
(yes, I know, I sound like your mother......)

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