In today’s world, America is ranked fourth among 168 countries in a computers per capita study. As of a 2004 study by the CIA, there were 762 personal computers in circulation for every 1000 people. No doubt, just about any United States government worker will stand in front of a crowd and tell every person in that crowd that technology growth and innovation is a necessity for the world super-power position the country is looking for. In reality, technology growth could be the largest reason behind obesity growth in the United States.
Another study done by the CIA has placed the United States as the sixth most obese country in the world. In reality, these numbers go hand in hand. Take a look back 30 years ago. In the 1980’s, the obesity rate in the United States was half of what today’s obesity rate is. Today, 33.9 percent of people are clinically obese, not even including the number of overweight people in our country. In the 1980’s, only 23 computers were in existence for every 1000 people which is a huge difference from the current computer-to-person ratio.
This connection can be made for any type of technology advancement: a microwave, cell phones, digital cameras, families owning several cars. Americans have become lazy. We are too reliant on the technologies around us. This is the greatest contribution to why obesity is soon to become the most preventable cause of death, currently still behind smoking.
What ultimately prevents people from staying fit is technology. Americans get the ideas in their head: “Why bike when I can drive?” “I would play basketball, but my favorite television program is on” and “I would take the dog on a walk, but my Ipod isn’t charged”.
Even worse, parents have reflected this same attitude onto their children. How many times have you come home to find your children playing on their personal gaming systems rather than enjoying the small remainder of sunlight that’s left to enjoy after school? Children did not get together one day and make a pact that they would do this, nor have they been told that that is what they should do. They simply grew up seeing it happen that way, whether catching on to the trend from older siblings or parents in themselves.
According to the Center of Disease Control, childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed over the past 30 years, going from 6.5 to 19.6 percent. This is an obviously scary incline. How has American society come to live like this? Why have we accepted that such high obesity rates are okay? What happened to the mentality of citizens looking at the United States as the greatest country on earth? Clearly, this cannot be achieved if Americans settle for second best, even when it comes to obesity.
Americans were quick to put the blame on fast food as the reason America is becoming obese, when this ultimately is wrong. No doubt, eating wrong is a contributing factor to obesity, but it is surely not the largest. Overall, the thing that prevents obesity is physical activity. A person could eat fast food for every meal of the day and stay perfectly healthy as long as they indulge in physical activity daily.
Americans need to learn that there’s no excuse to not partake in regular physical activity. Not only does physical activity help to keep people fit, but it makes them more internally healthy, resulting in more years of healthy life. Who doesn’t want that? Now is the time to reverse the negative role of technology and make it what gets rid of obesity. Buy a workout DVD, make a play list you can run to on your Ipod, or even reward yourself with it. Let yourself indulge in a movie if you bike to the movie theatre.
It’s time for Americans to answer the call for action that comes to defeating the obesity disease. As the weather continues to get nicer, people have no excuse to not be outside and getting some fresh air. Parents should encourage their children to do the same. Technology is alright when it is used as a necessity and a want some of the time. No one needs to revert back to the lifestyle that was lived by people in the dark ages. Rather, technology should be limited until a certain amount of physical exercise is met. Its small steps like these that will help people stay away from falling into the common disease Americans suffer from: obesity.
Tori Rosegarten is from Ft. Loramie, Ohio and is currently a student at Edison Community College. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.