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‘Research’ at mall finds big problem
You don’t have to be a Ph.D. or a statistical wizard to conduct research. All you need is a mall bench to watch what walks by. Within less than an hour, you’ll see two of America’s biggest issues.
What I’m about to report from my “research” is going to make some of you mad. I’m not trying to be mean-spirited or judgmental. This is just what I see every day. And I conclude that we have a serious problem with overeating and overpopulation.
Neither has a simple solution, but the common denominator in most cases appears to be lack of discipline or self-control. None of us are perfect, but too many of us refuse to take responsibility for the consequences of our chosen lifestyles.
We are all human. Struggling with choices is commonplace, but I worry about the disturbing epidemic of irresponsibility in overeating and overpopulating.
The statistics are there to support the alarming consequences of America’s penchant to super-size its eating habits. But you don’t need a computer to calculate the damage being done.
Just sit by a buffet line and watch the hefty portions being piled on plates. Food is tasty. Food is comforting. Food can be addictive. And unfortunately, some of the best-tasting food isn’t what’s best for us.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that “one out of three adults and 17 percent of all children are overweight to the point of obesity.” Yes, there are genetic factors to be considered in weight issues, but those are the exceptions.
The bulk of the problem comes from limited self-restraint and inadequate exercise to burn off the excess calories. I’m no expert, but I know Americans and our government spend trillions of health care dollars on medical problems directly tied to overeating. You can see that from your perch on a mall bench.
You also can observe pregnant teenage women pushing strollers, with one or two toddlers tagging along. You have to wonder who’s supporting the young family. Almost guaranteed, it won’t be the father, or fathers. It will be Uncle Sam.
New findings by California’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health reveal that as many as 40 percent of our country’s pregnancies are unwanted or unplanned. The center’s director, Claire Brindis, opined, “We do a better job of planning to buy tickets to see Lady Gaga than we do about being careful in planning for when we’re going to have children, how many children and when in our lives we’re going to have them.”
Considering all the money and initiative the United States has thrown at sex education and family planning, you’d hope the results were more promising. Regretfully, that’s not the case.
As in overeating, over-procreating often happens from absence of discipline. People refuse to accept the responsibility for their actions. They are in denial, thinking, “That won’t happen to me.” But it does.
I am for people making their own choices. I am also for people shouldering the fallout of their decisions. If you elect to overeat, don’t expect someone else to pay for the excess costs in health care. And if you decide to fill a bus with children, be prepared to house, feed and educate them. The welfare-baby cycle is unhealthy for everyone, especially the babies.
So, those are the conclusions from my mall-bench research. Like it or not, “the truth shall set you free.” And in some cases like these, the truth might also make you mad.
Dink NeSmith is president of Community Newspapers Inc. in Athens and represents the 10th Congressional District on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. This column was printed in the Athens Banner-Herald.