Very briefly I wondered what was wrong with me. Everyone enjoys fast food every once in a while, right? The sight of that McDonald's food made me feel queasy. I realized then, that I hadn't eaten McDonald's since before Halloween... that's 7 months ago, and the reason I stopped is because that last McDonald's meal had me in the bathroom all freaking night. Not something I wanted to do again... ever.
I refreshed the page on facebook, and another McDonald's ad popped up, a different one this time. The slogan on this one read something about getting a 'delicious, well deserved lunch'. Am I the only one who yelled out 'Bullshit!' when seeing this ad? In my opinion, McDonald's isn't 'delicious' and if a fat ass, high cholesterol, greasy skin, lethargy and heart disease are 'well deserved' then by all means, I'll take 2, right?
The ads angered me, sorry to say. Why? Because facebook, while yes, used by people of all ages, is mostly a younger-based social media site. People my age- we can think for ourselves. We can see that McDonald's ad and say, 'Whatever, that food is garbage' and continue clicking. A younger audience, however, will see that ad and say, 'Mmmmm, I want some McDonald's'.
Fast food every once in a while is okay, yes, but that's just not the case nowadays. Fast food has become an accepted meal several times a week for some families.
And people wonder why the obesity rate and diabetes rate in the US has skyrocketed, especially in children, over the last 10 years. It's partly because fast food places are allowed to market on social media sites, and have commercials that draw kids in.
Smoking ads on TV are illegal, right? Packs of cigarettes must carry a disclaimer, issued by the government,
saying that if you smoke these, you could die. Understandably so, smoking related deaths total around 450,000 a year. Alcohol ads aren't illegal on TV, but bottles of alcohol must also carry a warning, issued by the government, to say that drinking is bad for your health. Alcohol related deaths only total about 79,000 deaths a year.
Obesity, however, kills more people a year than alcohol but slightly less than cigarettes (100,000-400,000- broad range, I know, but there's a reason why, which I'll get to in a minute) and yet, the government hasn't required any fast food places to carry a disclaimer, or has even regulated any fast food or easy convenience food.
The reason it's hard to pinpoint the number of deaths attributed to obesity, is the side effects of obesity are so vast. It causes heart disease (the number 1 killer in America at 600,000 per year), diabetes (70,000), and certain cancers (570,000).
This isn't a normal post from me, I understand that. I'm throwing out a bunch of numbers, facts, which I don't normally do, but I'll get to my typical ranting here in a second, I promise.
Here's a number for you: 12.9 million. That's the number of obese children in America. Children. Do you know who is directly to blame for that number? Whoever is raising those 12.9 million children; parents, grandparents, foster parents, whoever. Children are told what to eat, told when to eat, handed food, by adults. Children do not have the means to buy their own food, to have the knowledge to make correct food decisions. Children are taught by example, and look up to those who take care of them, to trust that their caregivers have their best interests at heart.
I will start my typical Inklings ranting (that you all love so much) with a short story. School had let out one day, and the kids and I were heading to WalMart to pick out a redbox movie. In front of our WalMart is an ice cream place. It's always packed, especially after school. Outside of the ice cream place sat a mom and her son. The mom had an extra large cup of ice cream, and was enjoying it. The little boy (I use the word 'little' very loosely) was probably about 6 or 7 years old, and he, too, had an extra large cup of ice cream... all to himself. The child was so fat he couldn't sit in the chair; he kept rolling forward out of it.
I wanted to stop my car, slap the shit out of the mom, grab the kid's ice cream and throw it in the trash. Seriously. I was PMSing that day, too. Surprised as hell I didn't do it.
Personally, I don't see why anyone needs an extra large helping of ice cream all to themselves period. Just because you can eat that much doesn't necessarily mean you should eat that much. My daughter, skinny as a rail, has a super fast metabolism, and could eat an extra large cup of ice cream if I let her. The thing is, I don't let her. It's irresponsible. It teaches bad eating habits. But this mother that day, had not only bought herself an extra large ice cream, but bought one for her son to consume by himself.
Kill yourself, that's all fine and dandy. Seriously. You are an adult, and you can make the decision of whether or not to consume an extra large ice cream and you know the consequences of consuming that extra large vat of ice cream. But your 7 year old kid? He doesn't know that what you are handing him will put him on the fast track to childhood diabetes, that he's already obese, that the health risks and bad eating habits down the road will kill him if he keeps eating like that. You are, in turn, killing your son. Way to go!!
I started this post bitching about the McDonald's ad on facebook, but yes, in actuality, it's not their fault that America has gotten the way it has... not entirely. Do I think fast food ads and packaging should carry disclaimers like cigarettes and alcohol? Hell yeah, I do. Do I even think fast food should be heavily regulated to where extremely calorie laden or fat laden foods should be prohibited? Yep, that I believe as well. But in the end, people decide what they are going to put into their bodies...
It takes everything in me not to smack the hell out of a mom in the grocery store that has an obese child. Seriously. Especially when the whole family is huge. I want to just say to her, 'Kill yourself, but not your kids, please.' Sounds cruel, I know, but it's how I feel.
I'm going to give you all one last number before I end this post: 1.
What's 1? That's the number of people that just got done reading this post, at this moment: you. That's the number of people it takes to make a difference in not only their life, but their children's lives. That's also the number of people, at this moment, that have the choice to say, 'Yeah, whatever, this woman is crazy,' and not make a change for the better. 1 is a pretty big number. It can be the difference between life and death, between healthy and unhealthy, between 12.9 million and 12,899,999. And that 1 can mean all the world to a child out there.