Americans are never happy. We complain about our government not looking out for our best interests, and when they try to do something about it, we turn around and say they are becoming dictators.
We tend to blow things out of proportion 150 percent of the time because if we don’t, who knows what the government will try to regulate next; we are so concerned about our freedoms, yet we expect our government to do something about growing problems such as obesity, health care and the like.
The problem with this is in order for the government to do something, they have to dip their hands into our personal lives and “freedoms.”
I am not even going to touch the healthcare issues that are being debated in Washington, because that would open Pandora’s Box. But I will say this: We need to educate ourselves and realize that in every life situation, one thing has to be given up in order to gain another.
Now, many will say one of the most ominous and disturbing problems Americans face right now is the growing obesity rate. The numbers are beyond disturbing. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that by 2030, 42 percent of Americans will be obese, and 11 percent will be 100 pounds over a healthy weight. Before you think this is an exaggeration, according to statistics from the CDC, right now there is not a state where the obese population is less than 20 percent. In 2000, 20 percent of a state’s population was the highest number on the map. Now states are looking at more than one-third of their population being obese—everyone is taking a hint and looking for solutions.
Just like the American way, we are looking to our government and telling it to fix obesity. We demand new government programs in schools and health ordinances instead of holding ourselves accountable by simply eating normal portions and taking a short walk once a day.
Recently the mayor of New York City announced that restaurants are banned from selling soft drinks larger than 16 ounces.
Obviously, citizens were not too happy about this and began to question the government’s power and what it would try to control next.
This situation can go one of two ways: it can help the city’s 50 percent obesity rate, as noted by the Brooklyn Food Coalition, or it can do absolutely nothing to the numbers.
It is highly unlikely that it would be completely ineffective, however.
The law will not stop anyone from buying more than just one 16-ounce drink, but Americans are so self-conscious that they are unlikely to buy two drinks because it would make them look gluttonous—even though they may already be obese. So because of this strange psychology, the controversial law may accomplish what its maker set out to do.
Of course, the ban might not stick around if nothing seems to be happening to soft drink consumption. There is the possibility that while it may be reducing the number of drinks consumers buy at one time, there is still the fight against how many they will buy and drink throughout the day.
The only thing we love more than food is money, and if we start caring about our weight and our health, we will be saving billions of dollars that taxpayers pump into healthcare to fix what our eating habits cause.
But Americans do not want to hear such news. We would rather continue to drink our bubbly syrup and criticize the government for not keeping us healthy.
Rebecca Alvarez is a junior journalism major from El Paso who serves as news editor for The Tech Talk. Email comments to rha...@latech.edu.