Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Tubbies Down Under

We Americans are ignorant, obese, gluttonous pigs.  So says countries that refuse to look in the mirror.

Childhood obesity is a global crisis, says a report released on Friday by a group of researchers called the International Obesity Taskforce. It says 10 per cent (155 million) of the world’s school-age children are overweight and 2-3 per cent of those are obese. One graph shows that the prevalence of overweight and obese 10-year-olds in Australia is approaching 30 per cent, placing us fifth in the world after Malta, Italy, the US and Chile, with the problem worse in boys than girls.

The figures accord with a 2002 report by the NSW Childhood Obesity Secretariat which found that more than one in five children here is overweight and getting fatter at a rate higher than almost anywhere else in the world.

The number of obese Australian children more than tripled between 1985 and 1995. Dubbed Generation O, they’re condemned to diabetes, premature puberty, gallstones, sleep apnoea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and ridiculously premature death. A Royal Prince Alfred Hospital study published last month found overweight children as young as nine were at risk of heart attack and stroke from diseased arteries and blood vessels. The arteries of some overweight children had thickened as much as those of heavy adult smokers.

Smug Sydneysiders like to tell stories about the grossly fat Americans they have seen on their travels who take up two seats on planes, need reinforced toilet seats and eat super size fries and two hot dogs at once. But we are just as bad.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, obesity is a byproduct of wealth, ease, and luxury.  It is natural for humans to be lazy, and when you have the finances available to you to do so you can be as lazy as you like.  Why go out on the weekends and to backbreaking yard work when you can hire a bunch of illegals to do it for you for dirt cheap?  Why go out and participate in sports when you can sit at home and watch 14 different sports all at the same time?  Why take the hard life when you can take the easy one?

Obesity is a function of opulence, and America is the world’s most opulent society.  We have more wealth than anyone else, so it makes sense that this obesity problem would strike here first.  But the rest of the world’s wealthy societies—the UK, Europe, Australia, etc.—are not far behind us, and you’re starting to see them suffer from exactly the same problems. 

But, of course, it’s much easier to simply point fingers at lard-assed Americans and laugh, isn’t it?

Posted by Lee on 05/30/04 at 12:44 PM in Decline of Western Civilization • Permalink


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