Jake Payton writes a satire about the obesity epidemic in our modern society and offers his own “modest” proposal including Big Brother grocery rationing and card declining for heavyweights who try to buy cookies
Throughout history, the human race has witnessed some of the most gruesome plagues and diseases. There have been cities, even civilizations wiped out, claiming life by the millions. From about 1300 to the mid 1700’s it was the Black Plague or more commonly known as “Black Death,” which killed an estimated 75 million people. When European settlers discovered America 95 percent of the Natives were killed from smallpox. Since being discovered, smallpox has taken roughly 300 million lives. Today we live in a more civilized age with billion-dollar-funded organizations which focus on health care and disease prevention; however, there is an epidemic called obesity that has spread to more than 38 percent of the world’s population and the number continues to grow at an ever increasing rate.
With the developments of new medicines and vaccinations we can prevent illnesses our body cannot defend alone such as smallpox or the flu, but obesity requires a different kind of medicine and it lies within every one of us. For most overweight people simple exercise and diet would prove an excellent prognosis. On the other hand, some individuals require medicine to assist in controlling weight fluctuation for people who are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which is a disease that effects the thyroid gland, and in short causes your metabolism to drop. But this is not the issue. I am talking about the people who have a poor diet or eat fast food every day and wonder why they have a keg for a stomach and other health problems directly related to obesity.
David Zinczenko, the editor-in-chief of Men’s Health magazine and author of numerous best-selling books, writes about taking personal responsibility in his article titled, Don’t Blame the Eater. “Apparently this, a group of kids are taking on McDonald’s in court ,are claiming they got fat because of the delicious food they have to offer.”
Zinczenko emphasizes the importance of parenting and how some children do not always have the opportunity to eat a healthy meal. One cause of this he suggests is by single parents who work long hours and don’t always have the time to make lunch or dinner for their children. Zinczenko insists that in order for us to make better decisions, the fast food companies should print labels on what the people are consuming so they are aware of what they put into their bodies. It is not just the fast food companies fault, but the availability of already made healthy and affordable meals are pretty much non-existent.
Zinczenko certainly has made a good point in stating that fast food is unhealthy but no one is forcing us to eat those delicious high-calorie cheeseburgers. The decision to eat that type of food is a personal decision for most and I think many people lack the willpower to take the time and maybe pre-make a turkey avocado sandwich or chicken salad for lunch the next day rather than of grabbing a gas station hot dog or grease filled burger at the nearest fast food joint. I strongly agree with the author as he states in his youth fast food was the only option. Being able to cook a full balanced meal is not necessarily something every child can put on his or her resume. With the parents, or parent, being absent all the time, the only option may not always be the best option. Zinczenko reminds us this was the case in his family when he recalls the fact that he had a choice between four fast food restaurants.
I believe the problem does not lie within one individual or group, it is human nature in general that has caused us to be in this “obesity epidemic.” We are natural hunters and gatherers, as are most species, but you do not see any non-domestic animals that are overweight or obese. I have never heard of fat lions trying to take down a zebra or water buffalo. Why is it that no wild animals experience the same epidemic as humans? Well, there was a time when humans actually hunted for food, gathered nuts and berries, and harvested crops from farms. When I look at genealogy books or photographs taken more than 70 or 80 years ago, everybody was thin as a pole or ripped from manual labor. That is because people had to work hard with both hands to make a living and survive. Time and technology has slowly enabled us to get fat, we have created ways to make things easier allowing us to order pizza, take the elevator and drive to work. Technology is an amazing advancement in our history but it comes at a great cost for some of us.
There are, however, alternative solutions to this obesity epidemic that if I were President or a dictator I would explore. After serving in the Marine Corps for six years I am no stranger to exercise and feel strongly that if you can, you should. During my enlistment I was chosen to be a Body Composition Program Team Leader. This program measures the individual’s height, weight and circumference of the neck and waist. Then your age is taken into account as it is easier for younger people to lose weight. If you exceed your measurements according to your age then you are placed in BCP (Body Composition Program.) My job was to “train” these Marines until they met their personal weight standards. This meant being a health and food coach as well as exercising the Marines until the fat falls off. In short you have 6 months to achieve your maximum allowed weight limit or face the possibility of being kicked out of the Marine Corps, talk about incentive!
Now here’s where my solution comes into play. I would like for this program to be implemented into our society. Of course the guidelines wouldn’t be as strict, as not everyone can handle the amount of physical exertion that Marines face on a daily basis. However this program would reflect everyone and there would be ramifications for not achieving your set weight guidelines. For example, if you are six feet tall you should not exceed the weight of 225 pounds. If you do then you have 6 months to try and accomplish this goal on your own. Failure to achieve your goal will result in a strict grocery allowance. This means that when you go to the grocery store if you try and buy a box of cookies or something heavy in empty calories your card will be denied until a healthy substitute is found or the item is removed all together.
If one year goes by and you still have not achieved your goal you are placed in the physical portion of BCP. This means three times a week you must exercise at an approved BCP gym with a provided trainer. These trainer’s will be paid for by members of the BCP as there is a monthly tax placed on those who are overweight. Of course individuals with extreme medical conditions will receive a tailored program to fit their needs.
Some may say this violates the constitution, which says “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Well this program is actually trying to help people achieve these goals. Generally heavyweight people die before someone that is not necessarily skinny but healthy. Also I would like to speak for most people when I say, I am a much happier person when I am fit and can walk up a flight of stairs without losing my breath. If everyone was within their own weight guidelines we probably wouldn’t have the healthcare issues we have today. Not one week goes by, where I don’t hear someone talk about how much they have to pay for healthcare or what a load of garbage Obama Care is.
It may seem like some freedoms are being taken away here, but look at all the countries in the world that aren’t as free as we are. The populations are filled with skinny people, they don’t have the opportunity or freedom that we do to get fat in the first place. I believe that if you abuse your freedom than you should be punished. If you eat until you have a heart attack that’s punishment in itself, but why let it go that far? After helping hundreds of Marines achieve their goals and hear their testimonies of gratitude. I can assure you; that if stay healthy, you will live longer and be happier. Also, I won’t have to place you in my Body Composition Program.