Fixing America’s food folly

America’s relationship with fatty foods can be explained in three sentences: We love to eat them. We love to hate them. But they’re ours.

We could wax poetically about McDonalds’ perfectly shaped French fries, our mom’s scrumptiously sugary cheesecake and Hershey’s mouth orgasm that is the classic chocolate bar. Simultaneously, we would bitch about working all of that off at the gym.

America has set itself up for disappointment.

Just look at commercials – junk and fattening foods are equated with happiness, scenes of childhood, a chance for adult redemption. It’s the whole idea behind comfort food. And as the inexpensive and quick delights of fast food, candy bars and vending machines coincide perfectly with our constantly quickening lifestyles and diminishing wallets, women are told that to be beautiful, they must be a size 2 with perfectly shaped hips, thighs, butt and stomach. Guys face equally disturbing double standards – to be manly is to shove their faces with pizza and beer but also to have 6-pack abdominals and bulging biceps.

No wonder we’re so unhappy.

Equally disturbing is the fact that even with these unrealistic ideals of what is “beautiful,” this nation is unhealthy … and fat. The rate of obesity in this country has shown a “dramatic increase” in the past 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

So whose responsibility is it to fix this growing (pun intended) problem?

In New York City, legislators decided it was theirs.

In August 2005, its health department urged all city restaurants to start serving food without trans fat. Last September Tom Frieden, New York City Health Commissioner, announced that a proposal was in the works that would put a ban on trans fat in restaurants and require most eateries to post the calories on the menu.

Forcing us to eat healthy is not the solution. In fact, it’s insulting. Sure, we have a big problem on our hands, but its an individual decision. For example, Kent State should have other options (trans fat free, etc.), certainly, but those types of foods shouldn’t be the only options. We’d be pretty upset if someone told us what we could and could not put into our mouths.

We can only blame the advertisements and rely on the government to make us stereotypically beautiful and healthy for so long. Although society is subtle in its wickedness, if the individual starts taking responsibility for his or her own health, they will concurrently learn to rely on themselves to make their own decisions about what is beautiful. They will also start knowing which decisions are theirs and what decisions they are making on advertising.

The problem isn’t that the number of calories in a Big Mac isn’t on the menu. It’s the fact that we’re letting people tell us what to eat and how to look. We’re living in a society where we feel that the government is responsible for making every aspect of our lives better. This is a case where we have to choose to be healthy for ourselves; otherwise, we risk the freedom of choosing what to put in our bodies.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater.