Let us acknowledge that we, in the developed world, are getting bigger. Our height is increasing some, but it only partially compensates for our increased weight.
From 1960 to 2002, according to the most alarming study on the subject, the average weight of adults in this country, at the center of the bell curve, shifted upwards about 24 pounds, while average height increased by an inch.
How concerned we should be about this increase and what we should do about it is fodder for another post or two or three or more. Today, let’s just accept that it is happening, and ask why?
I like to think of this dilemma as the Big Fat Roulette table, with dozens of boxes containing the various explanations for our increased size. The wheel at the south end of the table has corresponding cubbies for each explanation. Today I am handing you a single chip. But, the contest is rigged. Let’s pretend there is a magnet in the wheel that will attract the ball to the one reason most responsible for our increase in average weight.
In the comments, you may place your chip on one box or on the line between two boxes. Or you may choose black or red. Then give your explanation for why you think the ball will land where it will. Next week, I will award a grand cyber gloat to the commenter I think gives the most well reasoned answer (or the funniest) and I will also reveal my opinion, which may be different from the winner’s.
First, let’s divide the board into red and black. If you’re a wimp and only willing to bet on a color, then your return won’t be as good as if you pick the single winning box. No winning cyber gloat for you. Maybe a cyber snort of acknowledgement.
I’ll call Red “Personal Choices” and Black “Outside Forces.” Of course, there’s overlap, so I had to make some judgment calls. We may choose to drink a sweetened soft drink, for example, but we aren’t responsible for the recipe. That’s why I put sugary soft drinks under red and HFCS under black. If you go into the roulette table manufacturing biz, you may lay out your table differently from mine. I’m cool with that.
Red: Personal choices
Popular media routinely pick Red. Citing scientific studies, they love to blame:
- Too much TV watching among both adults and children
- Too little outdoor play (among children) and too little formal exercise among adults
- Our insistence on drinking too many sugary soft drinks
- Our insistence on drinking artificially sweetened drinks
- Our participation in the fast food “supersize me” revolution
- Our love for “white” carbs
- Our refusal to make home-cooked meals
- Our reliance on chain restaurants featuring addictive, hyperpalatable foods
- Our late nights and lack of sleep
- Yo-yo Dieting ourselves fat
- Our increased stress
Black: Outside Forces, sneaky ingredients and poisons that we consume unwittingly and other exposures that we have no control over.
- The use of the food additive MSG
- Processed foods rife with corn and corn derivatives
- With a special box on the roulette wheel for High Fructose Corn Syrup
- The development and continued use of trans fats
- The increased presence of soy in our diets
- The mutation of a virus
- Compromised gut flora
- Plastics and can linings leeching Bisphenol A into our foods
- Growth hormones in our livestock
- And the proliferation of other environmental toxins in commonly used household, lawn care and personal care products.
So, do you hear it? Brprprprprprprprrup pup pup pup pup. It’s your turn to bet and watch the wheel spin. Where will you place your chip? Perhaps you know of a box that I have overlooked. Everything’s fair and legal, but not everyone will be a winner. Some of us will get fat, and in this society, that sucks.