Monday, July 25, 2011

Let's talk about obesity

I just read an NPR article on obesity, which led me to two articles about obesity. All three of these articles say we need to eat less and that would solve all of our obesity problems. Maybe, just MAYBE the problem is that foods that are good for you are expensive, go bad quickly if you don't use them, require more frequent store trips BECAUSE they will go bad quickly if you don't use them, foods that DON'T go bad as quickly contain too much salt, and take more time too cook/prepare. Let's look at that! Most poor people have to take the bus to and from their jobs and the store. If I didn't have a car, a trip to work on the bus would take me two hours. Then it would be two hours home again IF I got off work before I had to call a cab. Sometimes cabs take three hours to get there even when you call them to show up. So we work 8-10 hour days, have a 4 hour trip time, making our days 12-14 hour days. That leaves two hours to cook, clean and do basic body maintenance if we want eight hours of sleep. Most of us go on less than that.
 
Are we seeing where taking an hour to prepare a meal just doesn't fit in with our lives? And our days off are spent cleaning up the week's worth of crazy and doing our shopping... something that might take an hour bus trip... We NEED those foods to last and to be quick and easy to prepare.
 
Then we can look at cost. When rent is 500 bucks a month for a halfway decent place OR MORE... and we're working two part time jobs at minimum wage to make our rent and bills, how the hell are we supposed to feed ourselves? Maybe our bodies are packing on extra fat because it thinks we're starving. Most of us don't eat regularly enough, sometimes we have one meal a day, sometimes less... So say we're lucky enough to have a 40 hour a week job paying us 7.50 an hour. That's 300 a week. 1200 a month. Rent is 500, water is at least 50, electric is around 100, gas is 100 a month if we drive, a bus pass is 50-80, insurance on a car is 100 a month if we drive. Most of us have to have a telephone, so that's about 50 bucks we shell out a month. So already our expenses are at 800 a month if we drive, 680 if we ride the bus. They take money out of our checks for taxes, so that 1200 is down to about 900. So that leaves us 220 bucks a month for groceries, clothes and toiletries. You know, like toilet paper. New work pants. Soap and shampoo. if you drive, that leaves you with nothing. Absolutely nothing for food. And gods forbid if your car needs new tires, brakes, oil or has any kind of mechanical trouble.
 
Let's look at this a little bit. Maybe we should look deeper into the fact that we're in trouble here and maybe obesity is just a bi-product of poor culture and that a lot more people in this country are poor than we realize. Let's look at the schools who teach us the 3 R's, but don't educate us about cooking, cleaning, finances... things we really need to survive. Sometimes our parents don't know these things, either. They're going on what they've done to get by. Maybe we should look at that. Perhaps it's also a product of our culture that we expect things like this to go away overnight. Maybe we expect to take a pill and have it just work.There are a LOT of problems and the knot is what obesity has become. There are so many tangled threads that make up our bodies that it's pathetic and trying to point the finger at a symptom does NOTHING to solve the issues leading into it.
 
If I can go buy four cheeseburgers and four fries for five bucks and take it home to my family for a meal instead of spending 15 on a dinner that I have to cook myself and eat right before I go to bed to start another day, I'd do it just so I had some time to chill out and relax. Nowhere in there is there time for people to take a break, chill out and relax. Maybe we're fat because we're stressed out all the time about money and food and eating and working out and how people think about us and on and on and ON...  Add another thread to the knot that is obesity.
 
People seem to think that obesity is because you're lazy. Nothing in the above statements leads me to believe that anyone in this situation is lazy. They're mentally taxed out and eventually that takes its toll.
 
Start looking at solving the causes and maybe we'll solve the problems.
 
Oh wait, that costs money.
 
Some of the articles in question: