The other night I was watching an episode of “American Pickers”. Mike and Frank were checking out a guy who had some old-style soft drink machines where you put in the change, lifted the lid and snaked an ice-cold bottle of soda out—an 8 ounce bottle. The kind where you either plunked down another 2 cents for a deposit or drank the pop then and there and left the bottle behind.
Yep, I remember those. And then Frank made a really interesting comment. He recalled old-fashioned soda vending machines too. “Used to be when I was a kid,” he said, “that when we’d get one of these it was understood that the pop was going to be shared by three of us passing the bottle around.”
Does anyone else remember that? A cold, small bottle of Coca-Cola was a big time treat, and you shared, passing the bottle around, each kid taking a turn at wiping the previous kid’s “lip germs” off with the palm of his grimy hand before taking a good swig. What do we do today? We’ve got to get a 40 ounce “Big Gulp” and slug it down. Everybody gets their own.
And we wonder why ABC News reported yesterday on a new report released by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention that predicted that 42% of us will be obese by 2030 with 11% severely obese (more than 100 pounds overweight).
“Predicting obesity is tricky and no one variable showed up as causing obesity,” said Eric Finkelstein who authored a report.
To quote the late, great George Carlin: “Well isn’t that interesting.” Or maybe the quote from him should be: “Thank you Captain Obvious.” I’m not sure.
Seems to me that there are 2—count them T-W-O—causes for this “obesity epidemic”. We eat too much of the wrong stuff and we don’t get enough exercise.
The report, published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also said “anti-obesity measures such as better urban design, access to recreational facilities, workplace health promotion and new drugs could help reign in the problem.
Are we just too damned politically correct anymore to be blunt and direct? I’m not.
Hey parents! Quit stuffing your kids full of fast-food crap and soda! Cook at home! Cook decent, healthy food! Send your kids outside to P-L-A-Y! If they’re thirsty give them a glass of water—from the tap! Turn on the hose and let them slurp from that. Take a ballpeen hammer to the video game controllers and then toss them in the garbage.
You don’t need team snacks after every practice and game. When I was a kid, my dad would fill the “picnic thermos” with ice water before baseball practice and games and take along some wax paper cups. That was our Little League team’s “treat”. Oh yeah, and we got a free cup of soda after the game courtesy of the concession stand—everybody loved “suicides” which was coke, orange and 7-up all mixed together.
What do kids do today? They do video games. They’ve got well-exercised thumbs.
OK, enough ranting. So here’s the question: WWCBD? (What would Cheap Bastid Do?)
Simple. Here’s a few things that might help.
• Cook. Stay away from carry-out and drive-throughs. Plan a menu, shop for your food and cook.
• For dinner, cook one thing. If you’re cooking spaghetti, that’s it. Not spaghetti for Mom and Dad and a hot dog for one kid and a grilled cheese for another. If one or more of the kids doesn’t like what’s for dinner then make sure that they know where the bread and peanut butter are—they can fix their own. Or they can skip dinner—but no dessert and no snacking. They won’t starve to death.
• Drink water, juice or milk with meals—no soda, unless there’s a weekly “exception night” like Pizza Friday. Get away from the “fizzy drinks”! Soda is a treat.
• Eat together. And then you can do that old fashioned thing like talking. NO cell phones, texting or whatever at the table. And after you eat together, clean up together. Kids can scrape plates and stick them in a dishwasher. Kids can scrape plates and put them in a sink and help wash or dry. Kids can put clean dishes away, whatever.
So how do you fight an obesity epidemic? Eat better and be more physically active. It ain’t brain surgery. Here’s how exercise was encouraged in the early 60’s when President Kennedy started the Presidential Fitness Program (see they were worried about it 50 years ago!). Watch the video, there are a bunch of school class photos. Notice—very, very few of the kids are even “plump” let alone “obese”.>
I’m thinking that this is more of a sociological issue than it is a medical issue. What do you think?