Sunday, September 9, 2012

America Is ... a Tad Disgusting

My family and I spent Saturday morning running a 5K for the First America State Bank Fitness Festival, and it was quite simply refreshing and a lot of fun.  Roughly a thousand people in the area of southeast Denver turned out for a 5K run/walk and a one-mile fun run for the little kids.  Many of the local high schools turned out with their cross-country teams and cheerleading squads to promote health and wellness.

To contrast that, we attended youth baseball today for a double-header and I was depressed and quite nauseated to witness the poor health and disgusting eating - and parenting - habits of Americans.  The first thing that struck me was the number of overweight kids who are playing organized sports.  Too many young people are just overweight and out of shape, and it's just so sad.  And, I blame the parents.  For, even before the kids are playing - on a chilly September morning at 8:30 - these kids are being given huge bottles of Gatorade to chug on.  And that is nothing but sugar water and chemical coloring, despite the fact that the kids haven't sweated a drop and wouldn't all day.

Beyond that were ... the snacks.  How about a supermarket bag full of Doritos and Pringles and Cheeze-its and Oreos?  Nothing like a little starch and empty white flour carbs loaded with sugar for a little "energy."  And if that weren't enough, it certainly made sense to top it off between games with a trip to McDonalds.  Really, people?  Has any effort at health and nutrition gone completely out the window?  Are people this completely clueless about fitness?  It's not surprising, considering the size - and shape - of many of the fathers in the stands.  But it is truly sad.  They've just completely given up - and there is literally no shame about how bad they look.

Of course, the question is - why is this my business?

I look at it financially.  There is no doubt that diet and exercise are hugely significant on health and health care spending.  And Medicare and Medicaid spending are busting out with a generation of people raised on sugar and empty white flour carbs.  That expense affects my health care costs as well.  Insurance pools disperse cost and risk.  So for every handful of Doritos going down someone's gullet, I am seeing a rise in my health care costs.  And it is unsustainable.  The great irony is that amidst all this gluttony, people turn their ire toward the "Food Police."  As if that cinnamon roll is so important and part of everyone's Constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness.

Ultimately, I see it from A Teacher's View.  These children are being harmed by the ignorant behavior of their parents, and they will be saddled with a lifetime of weight struggle because parents didn't care enough to be educated about health and wellness.  According to research, only 10% of parents of overweight and obese children seek help in treating the condition.

So, so sad.

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