The plumping up of America's kids is a favorite topic of news
magazines. Time recently published a health issue whose cover showed a
chubby boy holding a gigantic, double-scoop ice-cream cone. The
accompanying story was entitled, "Our Super-Sized Kids", with the note
that it's not just genetics and diet that are creating the surge in
No, wrote Time. Not just genetics and diet
but also poverty. Poor kids on remote Indian reservations, for
instance, have little access to healthy fruits and vegetables.
just genetics and diet but also environment. Caucasian children in
fitness-conscious towns like Boulder, Colo., which is loaded with bike
trails and health-food stores, have low obesity levels.
genetics and diet, but also race. The latest national figures show a
30-percent obesity rate among white kids. The figure is five points
higher for blacks and eight points higher for Mexican-Americans. Time
notes that few blacks, proportionally, live in neighborhoods with
well-stocked grocery stores; instead, little corner stores peddle
sweets and soft drinks and salty snacks. And fattening foods like
tamales and refried beans, cooked in lard, are staples of the
Time also wrote about education levels,
the sedentary lifestyle brought on by today's techno-gadgets, fattening
foods in school cafeterias and vending machines, and reductions in
physical-education classes as contributors to childhood obesity.
at some point the issue must circle back to what, and how much, we are
putting in our mouths. The what is high-calorie, high-fat foods and
drinks. And the how much is a whole lot.