Friday, November 5, 2010

Understanding Childhood Obesity

I’m sticking to my plan of not commenting on my last post, so I’ll try to explain why it’s a problem for the benefit of people who choose not to see it that way.

There’s a lot of factors regarding why childhood obesity is on the rise. One is that in 1940, 66% of households had one wage earner, but by 2000 only 25% did. The idea of having a parent at home cooking healthy meals has become an impossibility for many, and most families are struggling around schedules in an attempt to feed everyone.

Another factor is the complete lack of variety for quick food. One can’t eat Subway every day, and the browning lettuce of a fast food salad gets really tiresome after a while. Having dated a vegetarian more than once, I know there’s very little option in that department, as well. Convenience is the primary reason anyone gets fast food, it’s not because they want to eat unhealthy.

Yet another factor is the barrage of advertising children are exposed to. It’s not an issue of “learning to tell your kids no,” so much as it is an issue of parents getting sick of their kids complaining about it. I think providing healthy options so parents can placate their children while not poisoning them is preferable to parents going on a crusade against advertising, and that is the next step if fast food chains continue to sell garbage.

Theirs is also the fact that fast food quality has sunk over the last two decades. Fat content has increased, high fructose corn syrup is in everything from the chicken nuggets to the ketchup to the sauce on a McRib, and sodium is added in heart-stopping levels. I thought that the suggesting of “providing an alternative” was a good idea, because nearly every facet of the food industry has successfully introduced “reduced X” products with great success, with the exception of most fast food chains.

Also, “providing an alternative” is the answer to the problem of people bitching about things changing. I mean, you got people complaining when fast food thousands of miles away from them is changed, I can’t imagine what would happen if someone actually messed with one of your Big Macs. You guys might have a coronary right there, and for a measure aimed at benefiting public health, that would be counter-productive.

Finally… it was one of the more inconsequential problems I could come up with. I could ask a tough question that requires hours of research (I mean, require hours of research for a good answer, not that anyone would do anything but pull a stock answer from a prominent libertarian from their hamburger-meat-coated rectum). I could ask a question that is complex and requires a nuanced answer with several aspects needing explanation… but I thought I would ask an easy one to start.

Maybe I learned the most important thing I can know about anarchists if they choose to not even see this as a problem: anarchists don’t give a shit, they just want to be left alone in an unchanging world of conservatism where everything is as they remember it from childhood, like every Republican I ever met. Maybe, but I’m not ready to give up on them yet. It was, after all, only one late night and early morning. Maybe there is some creativity in you guys.

I don’t want to imagine that anarchist ideas fall to pieces once I wander outside of the realm where Noam Chomsky has already tread. I’d like to think of anarchy as a living, breathing philosophy that can adapt to problems and come up with simple solutions (like the problem of English prisoners being shipped to Australia).


  1. Those Anarchists always have to go and spoil the party...Even one with too much food.

  2. The idea of having a parent at home cooking healthy meals has become an impossibility for many

    Oh, bullshit! I'm sick of the lame excuses of why people eat so poorly and allow their kids to do so.

    You can make a decent, healthy meal in under 30 minutes with just a little effort. Either parent can take the time to do that and also prepare a decent lunch for the kids to take to school, provide healthy snacks in the fridge, etc.

    Stop the whining and get off your fat, lazy asses, people.

    As far as costs go, that's another lame excuse. Look at what people spend on fast food. Just a few dollars, spent wisely, will get you pretty far at the grocery store.

  3. high fructose corn syrup is in everything

    End the corn subsidies and remove the sugar quotas, to start. It's government that has created the HFCS problem, but the ignorant "government regulation is the answer" idiots try to blame it on the "free market".

  4. The fact that millions of single mothers work two or more jobs and rarely, if ever, see their children is probably lost on you, Nikk.

  5. Bret, what's lost on me is your logic.

  6. Bret, that's true but who knows how people get themselves into knots. With both people working it can be hard but not impossible.

    But I DO KNOW it takes nothing to prepare a healthy meal. It takes nothing to incorporate into your overall routine. If you really truly care about your kids you ensure they're well fed.

    Boil broccoli. Ooo. So hard. Drizzle some olive oil on it and voila - powerful nutrients flow through your veins. All in under 5 minutes. Ok, 10 if you thoroughly clean it. Then again, buy frozen broccoli which is probably equally (if not better) as good and boil or zap that. Under five minutes.

    Alas, people "hate" broccoli. It's easier to go grab a burger or go to Pizza Hut. Oh, pizza. Easy. Today, companies make good quality prepared dough. All you have to do is dress it up (peppers, onions whatever) and in ten minutes PIZZA!

    I do that with my kid. We sit, make a pizza and talk about food. Doesn't always work but at least I'm putting it in her head because I know one day she'll be on her own and the best I can do is take the time to teach her.

    Healthy ham is on the market now and add a nine grain bread while going easy on the mustard and BANG! Acceptable lunch.

    What about pasta? Nine minutes to boil. Buy some salad (which today they come in ten different varities) and BANG! 15 minutes a passable supper.

    Buy nuts. Buy sesame seeds. Buy radishes. Buy avocados. All nothing to do.

    Yes, there's a lot of junk on the shelves. But there's also been a proliferation of healthy products. I think there's enough choice. All you need to do is stop complaining and get it done.

    We just don't take food seriously on this continent.

  7. Responsibility...

    I have lived in poverty with kids, not only is “fast food” crap it is expensive, for the cost of a “kid meal” you can feed five humans, it may not be sexy and may involve rice, beans, and even take a bit of time - but it is far more healthy.

    The real trick is to forget the “I need a career BS” whoever makes the most money keeps the job and the other stays at home to take care of the kids... single parents, this presents a problem and it is going to suck.

    Responsibility it always comes back to responsibility, have a kid that is a responsibility in fact it is without question the most biologically important responsibility all other concerns are secondary, including time, sleep, work effort and more - have a child and your life belongs to them it has been that way from before we started to walk upright.

  8. Ooo. Feminists are freaking out right about now.

    Good job!

  9. This is why 4/5 anarchists are men.

  10. First - I’m not an anarchist.

    Second - yes screw the feminists.

    And the world has been and is ruled by men, for good, bad or ill it is a fact, it will likely stay that way... tough if anyone doesn’t like it, facts are facts and you cannot change biology...

    Live with it or change it - I don’t care, it is just a fact to deal with.

  11. Radio, you never cease to amaze me. I cannot wait for your generation to be dead.

  12. Love you too buddy, enjoy the decline...

  13. I look forward to the challenge of inheriting the problems of your generation, and it will be particularly nice that you won't be around to call the solutions socialistic, statist, East-coast, feminist propaganda.

  14. Just delusional...

    And the generation younger than you will likely be more like my generation.

    I never said no one should not have equal rights under law, clearly anyone of any background can start a business, become a political whore, or kill themselves with bad actions and habits.

    Of course one thing I note is that the religionist (both faith and political) would rather make a fantasy than deal with the facts.

    If the world is bad, change it, the biggest block to improvement is delusional religion with ignorance a close second...

    You cannot effectively change something without dealing with the facts and the underlying reasons, delusion and wishful thinking only blocks effective effort.

    But what about all the things you love about the state?

    Moon shot
    computers and the internet
    roads and bridges
    (lots of other things)

    What can you tell me about the people who did the above?

    Do you like that answer?

  15. I have no idea what your point is, but just as successive generations did not revert back to slavery or minimizing women or any number of other social ills, I am pretty confident the next generation won't turn out that dumb.

    Then again, maybe they will, since your generation used our education money blowing up brown people for resources. I doubt it, however, because some truths are self evident and can only be ignored through indoctrination. I suppose we'll see... well... you won't, but I will.

  16. "I doubt it, however, because some truths are self evident and can only be ignored through indoctrination. I suppose we'll see... well... you won't, but I will.”

    Funny boy... Slavery, suppression of women, racism, all of them have strong religious connections, government redistribution programs are the new form of slavery.

    Of course statism is also a social ill but statist indoctrination is strongest or as strong now than in the past - bullying by proxy, we can hope that dies out also...

    "I have no idea what your point is"

    Just as you didn’t see how cranking down on “kids meals” was intrusive or infringing.


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