America’s Growing Threat

This weekend, while my rear-end was recovering, Erin and I needed to kill some time so we visited the mall up in Oak Lawn (wow that website sucks).  Neither of us are really “mall people”, but there is a movie theater there, so we thought we’d see if anything decent was playing.  Turns out there wasn’t, so we needed to waste time some other way.  Now, the rest of this entry isn’t meant to bash these people, but more of an observation of what we saw.  Some people may get upset with what I’m about to say, I can’t help that other than inform them that they shouldn’t read what follows. 

Both Erin and I like to people watch.  It’s interesting to see what kinds of people are around us and just to watch them go about their days.  Having a camera to photograph these moments is also fun, but alas, no camera this time.  So, this time, Erin and I decided to play a game of sorts.  Both of us are quite disturbed by the growing trend of obesity in America.  Be it from fast food lifestyles or just plain laziness, the trend is getting quite disgusting.

For those of you who know me, know that I’m quite skinny, but that’s because I work at it by doing things I enjoy.  I’m usually do some sort of physical activity (for more than an hour) five or six times a week.  I also don’t eat fast food, nor drink high caloric beverages (soda, choco-moca drinks, etc) multiple times a day.  However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t eat high fat foods and instead only eat nasty health foods.  Erin also is a skinny person.  She also is active (though not as much as I am), and eats well.  She is also in school to become a physical therapist, so she sees this all the time.  Yes, we both have biased views on the subject, but at the same time, it’s hard not to see what’s going on.

Our game was to see what kind of ratio we would get by seeing if people were overweight.  This was in no way a scientific study.  To begin with, we were watching people at the mall.  The mall is not known for people that are highly athletic.  Also, we were just judging people on how they appeared with their clothing on.  Granted, we did give many people the benefit of the doubt when it wasn’t obvious.  Also, do you include old (>65)?  For our “study” we didn’t.  We also tested two different areas of the mall to see if it made a difference (as far as we could tell, we didn’t include the same people twice). 

Our findings came back with a staggering >60% of the people we saw were overweight.  This is being generous too, if Erin was reporting our findings, she would’ve said around 75%.  Now, from my rough calculations, I’d say of those, more than 50% were “grossly” overweight.  One case in point was a woman in a motorized wheelchair.  Erin asked me if I thought the weight was due to the motorized wheelchair (broke a hip or something and couldn’t walk), or if the wheelchair was due to the weight.  Other observations seem to point out that this is not gender, race, class, or age specific either. 

What really saddens me is that it’s not age specific.  It’s the largely overweight kids that scare me.  These kids aren’t doing it to themselves as the older adults are.  The parents are effectively killing them off by influencing their food decisions and activities (or lack thereof).

Many people will complain that it is genetics that causes them to be this way.  I throw a large BS in their direction, because if that were true, then why the sudden upturn; why isn’t the rest of the world experiencing this same problem?  I think it more comes down to the fact that as American’s we have become lazy, and with the proliferation of junk food (and it being easier to obtain than non-junk food), we, as a nation, have just let go.

In my mind it’s disgusting what people have let themselves go to.  However, it’s not only disgusting, but incredibly bad for them in the long term.  Just the added weight on their joints will wreak havoc later one, let alone what their blood vessels look like.  It’s not just average-joe that’s overweight either.  It’s the medical doctors, the ones that should be setting the examples for average-joe, that are just as bad.  And don’t even get me started on the “American fix” to this problem: Gastric Bypass Surgery.

It would be interesting to further this “study” some more, at various other places.  I think it would also be beneficial to actually keep more scientific tally, than just yes, no.  Maybe we can move down to Michigan Ave sometime soon and try it again.