America, The Beautiful ( & The Unhealthiest)

Image Via Bloomberg.com

Recently I mentioned I was “Still Swallowing” the NYC’s rules and Big Gulp ban. However, reading more studies on the current health of our Nation - I’m sure this will come as a real shocker to you - we are in a rather poor state, no pun intended. Our culture’s obesity epidemic is about as apparent as our fiscal deficit. I have to say Mayor Bloomberg made a wise choice, because the facts of our Nations health are a little hard to swallow. Though other states will likely follow suit with NYC’s new laws, America may need to look beyond our bright-eyed, red, white and blue ways to bring real change the health of this culture.

Recently CNN posted a blog “We’re Still Too Fat To Fight.” Most of us probably didn’t even consider that we already were “too fat to fight.” But it turns out Americans ages 17-24, nearly 26 million young people, are too fat to fight. While CNN reports that average children are consuming “130 empty calories a day from candies, cookies and chips” ( though I can just about guarentee it’s a few more “empty calories” than that) you could say we are currently a bit of a mess - but I’m not trying to blame anyone in particular (hence I have no political slant here.) We can’t ignore the obvious facts, that may at times seem so religiously rehearsed in the news that we’ve become mute to it, that we are deeply in debt to the future of America’s health. I don’t mean to sound so extreme but how does it feel to know that 27% of young potential recruits are clinically obese. As CNN so lightly states, our high rate of obesity isn’t only a health crisis, but a crisis of national security as well.

Rates of obesity are escalating so quickly that it’s predicted by 2020 more than 40% of the US will be obese. That’s nearly half of America. Already 60% of Americans are both overweight and obese. And what are we doing to try to change that? Plenty. Maybe too much. We are spending 160 billion dollars a year on obesity in America. Could there be any correlation to why we’re in debt? Of course we continue to dig for answers, trying new diet after diet or somehow finding ways to remain content unhealthy - also adding to costs, extra food, transportation, health care, medications… the list goes on.

It seems in America we take pride in conquering all our own issues, on fixing all our problems, expect of course, where our debt is concerned. (Money is always the exception to the rule it seems.) Could it be we don’t have the answer for this one? It may be time to begin looking to other countries for potential answers, guidance or even coaching, if you will, for possible resolutions to this increasing issue. Or our issues, rather.

I say “our” because as a United Nation we’ve catered to our lazy habits, our toxic preferences and our culture of convenience - which in turn may be creating a culture of incompetence. Excuse me for sounding harsh, but the present facts and inevitable future isn’t really a warm and fuzzy comfort to behold. America is still a baby and as we are surrounded by countries who have a much better grasp on this thing called “personal well-being”, it may be to our best interest to kill a little American pride and try to emulate several neighboring countries who have a much better handle on their health. Because whatever we’re doing now doesn’t seem to be working.

In August 2012 Bloomberg reported the World’s Healthiest Countries. It comes as no surprise that the US didn’t quite make the cut.