Thursday, 25 February 2010

The Fat, Lazy, Wasteful, Greedy, Bullying, Polluting, Unhealthy, Ignorant American (Did I leave anything out?)

Many of the lectures I've attended recently have referenced reports about how fat, lazy, unhealthy, wasteful, greedy and polluting Americans are. We have more cars per person (80 for every 100) than any other country. The number of and degree to which people are overweight has increased dramatically in the last 40 years. We're gigantic polluters at an average of 20 tons a head who are trying to free ride for as long as possible. We over-consume food, water (430 litres a day), and energy. It hasn't really bothered me much. I've just assumed that the reason was mostly due to the availability of studies and information and also more impressive because the US is such a big place (not a fat joke). Friday, after watching End of the Line, when the "star" of the show was answering questions was the first time when I felt like it was a low blow. He was talking about consumption being the issue, not so much population. I agree with that well enough. But he said he needs to stop going to the US because every meal he's served is two portions worth. I think this is in large part due to the choices he makes of places to eat and also I think it's unfair to point the finger at the US in that case. I'd just had an order of fish and chips that was about 2.5 meals worth. I think one of the differences between the UK and the US is that the portions might be gigantic in the US, but if I eat somewhere where that's the case, I am quite happy to take the food home and eat it for lunch the next day. Here, you're not meant to take food home with you. Asking for a doggy bag gets you funny looks. I'm not saying that there's nothing wrong with the US, I'm just saying the problems aren't isolated to its borders. I think other parts of the world, like the UK, needs to take a closer look at itself. It's not a case of a healthy chick looking down upon a fat chick, it's the clinically obese chick looking down her nose at the morbidly obese chick all the while stuffing her face.

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