Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nation of Fatties

There's a new report out - obesity rates are up in 31 states.


Q: What causes weight-gain?

A: Consuming more calories than you burn.

Let's consider what's happened in this country, in the space of a generation or two.

We continue to become more mechanized and automated. Many jobs that traditionally required manual labor have been phased out.

That's a double-edged sword. There aren't as many occupational injuries nowadays. But pushing a button burns far fewer calories than hoisting something heavy.

Meanwhile, we seem to have an obsession with minimizing every form of physical activity.

According to the ABC News story, 22 percent of Americans didn't engage in any physical activity in the last month. For the few who do get exercise... it's a form of recreation.

Gallagher - the watermelon sledge-o-matic guy - once observed, "Only in America do people store their barbells in a garage that has an automatic opener."

Cars have power-everything... steering, brakes, window-winders. Even door-closers on some models. How lazy can you get???

Amazingly, even TV has been made more effortless in a generation! When I was a kid, if I wanted to watch Mighty Mouse instead of Huckleberry Hound, I had to get up and walk across the room to the TV, and klunk-klunk-klunk that channel-changer knob. (When I decribe that to my kids, they look at me with extreme skepticism. They think I'm making up the story, like the one about walking to school and it's uphill in both directions.)

When was the last time you saw a TV that didn't have a remote control, allowing you to sit in the La-Z-Boy and effortlessly change channels?

Of course, back in those days you had P.E. in school, too. I never cared much for it. But I always enjoyed tag, hide-and-seek, kick the can, dodgeball, four-square, etc. (We didn't have X-box and the internet, etc.)

Back in the day, the majority of kids got to school by walking, or riding bikes. Not any more! Every school day, there's a traffic jam as parents pick up and drop their little dumplings at the front door.

So... you come home from your sedentary day at school or the job in sweet, air-conditioned, motorized comfort. You grab a bag of Cheetos and a 56-ounce soft drink, and crash in front of the bigscreen until dinner time.

Golly! Why are we getting obese?

Like most everybody else, I tend to be "calorically challenged." Thank goodness for bicycling... I may not be lean and mean, but I can walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. I can tie my own shoes. And it's unlikely I'll drop dead from a heart attack.


misc. said...

My favorite excuse is "I don't like to sweat."

Huh? It's preferable to swell up like the Michelin Man?

Bikeboy said...

That's why my kids couldn't ride their bikes to school. Their momma sympathized with their getting sweaty, and having "helmet hair" when they arrived! Oh, the humanity!!! (School is one mile away, over perfectly flat terrain.)

Thank goodness my oldest daughter is now more independent, and rides her bike to work almost every day. (And she's looking very svelte, too, I might add!)

Anonymous said...

I'm not a small dude, but I like rich food and beer. I shudder to think what I'd look like if I didn't ride a bike everywhere, live in the 2nd floor apartment, and walk back and forth between my tiny old 13" TV and the couch. I doubt I burn many calories on the stairs or TV-trek, but I'm certain my car-free life takes care of it!