Quote of the Day

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

America: Land of the Fat, Home of the Average

Americans have long touted themselves as being the best of the best, Numero Uno, head and shoulders above all other nations. If current trends continue, though, we will find ourselves on top of the heap of the fat, and the illiterate. Am I being harsh and judgmental? I certainly hope so, because if this once great nation of ours doesn't experience a wake-up call real soon we will become known world-wide as the nation of the moronically obese.

Consider this: Obesity is defined as having a BMI (body mass index) of 30% or greater. Where are we right now? An estimated 32.7 percent of U.S. adults 20 years and older are overweight, 34.3 percent are obese and 5.9 percent are extremely obese. An estimated 16.9% of children and adolescents aged 2–19 years are obese.

If you care to dispute these figures then the next time you are at the mall, a ballgame, or most especially a buffet restaurant, take a gander at the guts around you.

As if being a nation of fatties isn't enough, we are now raising a batch of children who are barely average in student achievement compared to other countries. Our children are average in reading and science, and below average in math. 

Which countries are at or near the top in test scores? The Chinese city of Shanghai topped the rankings with South Korea, Japan, Finland, and Switzerland not too far behind. Finland has, arguably, the best education system in the world. We are still bickering over ours.

The big question should be "who is going to get left behind if we, as a country, don't shape up?" I think the facts and figures from the CDC and test scores from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development answer that question. It is us! 
If we don't start embracing intellectualism instead of demonizing it, we will wind up being the biggest (in more ways than one) third world country on Earth with the shortest life span. And, don't even get me started on our abysmal standings in world health care. That is nothing to be proud of, either.

What might we do to solve these problems? To start, toss all of those diet books and pills into the garbage, push away from the table a little sooner, and most of all - get off your butt, away from the TV and computer games, and EXERCISE! Additionally, we should swallow our pride and look at what other countries are successfully accomplishing in the fields of healthcare and education, and emulate them.

Arrogance and denial are not benchmarks of national pride.


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