There is a potentially controversial article in today's Sunday Times (UK) about obesity. The article postulates that fatness and obesity are directly related to poverty and ignorance; that rich, educated people are rarely fat. Also, it says, “Obese means not just podgy, but dangerously, disablingly, distastefully fat, as in American fat."
I have to admit to having a chuckle when I read that. I am an expat Brit living in the United States. I love the US, so it is not a slight on this country, but no one can deny the preponderance of vast, humongous people shaking the sidewalk as they walk along — those who actually do walk anywhere, that is.
As the article itself shows, Britain is not immune to this problem; they are probably second only to the US. The US certainly must have a problem when Americans are used as examples whenever the conversation turns to obesity.
Not just in this article, but whenever I travel outside this country, I find the topic comes up an inordinate number of times. "Oh, you live in America; isn't everyone beastly and fat over there?" To which, after today's article, I can now respond "No, only the poor, stupid ones, apparently."
I have two main points I want to consider. First, is the article's theory true? Second, are the parents of obese kids stupid or evil? As for the first point, I am leaning towards it being half true; maybe three quarters. Half true because I buy the notion that the poor find it harder to eat healthily on a purely financial basis. Three quarters because I don't think ignorance or lack of education plays that large a role. It does play some role, so I'm accounting for a bit of stupidity in there with the poverty.
We shop at Whole Foods (a healthy, largely organic food supermarket) and Publix (a major supermarket chain). It is patently obvious upon simply perusing the receipts that when we do a weekly shop at Whole Foods, we are paying around $100 more than when we do it at Publix.
Healthy, natural foods are more expensive than processed crap. I recently heard an old lady in the checkout line explaining, as though ashamed since no one had asked her, that she was buying a loaf of 20 cent supermarket-brand white bread because it was all she could afford.