Let Them Eat Fat Essay, Research Paper
Would you Like Fries with That?
Would you like fries with that? asks a Mcdonalds employee to an obviously
overweight man. And of course he excepts the offer of those mouth watering fries and
neither of them think twice about the addition of calories or the obvious health risks.
Unfortunately, this scene is a common one through out America, where obesity is starting
to look more like an epidemic than a simple will power problem. Obesity is ravishing our
country, especially the lower classes, yet nothing seems to be done about it. It seems that
becoming obese, is a normal response to the American environment. currently, one fifth
of all Americans are obese with no downward trend in sight. Obesity isn t being taken
very seriously by the American public or by the authorities . If were aren t careful,
obesity could cost more than Aids or any other epidemic in the history of the world.
Strangely enough, obesity seems to be more of a class issue than other epidemics.
Studies have shown that low income families are more obese than the wealthier class.
That seems puzzling because how can the poor get money to eat more than the rich?
That s simple. They aren t getting more money or more food, just unhealthy food for less
money. Mcdonalds value meals cost less than an hours worth of work at a minimum
wage job. Most of the poorer people live in cities because it is easier to find affordable
housing there than anywhere else. Likewise 1 out of 4 Mcdonalds hamburgers are sold to
inner city consumers. Along with this startling fact is the issue of child obesity. Between
the ages of 5 and 11, the rate for girls is 27%; for boys 23%. By fourth grade the rate for
girls peaks at 32%, while boys top out at 43%. These are the rates for Mexican
American children who predominantly live in the cities and are of the lower class. Child
obesity has grown so out of control that it has been declared epidemic by the surgeon
general. The cost of general public health budget by 2020 will run into the hundreds of
billions, making HIV look, economically, like a bad case of the flu.
People don t only need to watch what they eat but many people, children
especially, aren t getting enough exercise. Despite our cultural obsession with sports and
professional athletes, Children are getting less opportunities to just shoot some hoops.
Currently only one state, Illinois, requires kids grades k-12 to participate in Physical
Education. Along with that only 19 percent of high schools nation wide are physically
active for 20 minutes every day. In California, proposition 13 has literally gutted all
school-based physical education classes. There are no places were a kid can go after
school to play sports so they go home and watch TV. With the decrease in activity, there
has been a rise in TV viewing, averaging 32 hours a week. That s almost 5 hours per day
in every house in America. So if kids aren t getting exercise and are eating unhealthy who
should care? We have organizations whose job it is to care, but it seems like they just
don t. The media, the academy, public health care workers and the government do almost
nothing. Greg Critser offers that these people look at obesity as a class issue which
transcends the boundaries of race and gender. The key adjective in all the outstanding
survey s that have been take is poor. The poor African Americans, the poor Whites, the
poor Latinos, who all follow the basic lifestyle that has been adopted as OK in America.
How could such a large epidemic seem to only severely effect the lower classes?
This answer maybe a little more complicated than it seems. First off, the poor Americans
aren t getting sufficient exercise and they aren t eating healthy. But there is much more
than that. The fashion industry has recently focused on baggy hip-hop clothing. This
makes it possible to become stylishly stout . Fatness is often celebrated on rap videos
and is associated with wealth and power. Well that starts to explain why the poor tend to
be larger, but why have the richer people been excluded from this startling epidemic? In
corporate America, meanwhile, being fat is taboo, a surefire career-killer. If you can t
control your contours, goes the logic, how can you control a budget or staff? How many
fat men or women have you seen on the cover of Forbs lately? There are none.
This seems as though the rich, higher class is letting the poorer people eat fat and
live unhealthy. The corporations putting up Mcdonalds every 3 blocks don t seem to mind
the growing problem, neither does the middle-class. The reasons for letting the poor get
fat are complicated. I think that Critser really captures the truth with these lines, For
what do the fat, darker, exploited poor, with their unbridled primal appetites, have to offer
us but a chance for we diet and shape conscience folk to live vicariously? Call it boundary
envy. Or, rather, boundary-free envy. And yet, by living outside their boundaries, the poor
live within ours; fat people don not threaten our ways of life; their angers entombed in
flesh, they are slowed, they are softened, they are fed. This issue can t be taken lightly by
the American public. It needs to be recognized as a problem. Not some much that we
drive people to anorexia, but enough so that it is in our consciences every day. Because
rather soon, it will be too late.