Tuesday 7 July 2015


America has an obesity problem. Visit any amusement park, airport or concert hall and you’ll get the sobering reality like a smack in the face. (This isn’t opinion sadly, this is fact). Currently, More than 68% of Americans are considered to be overweight or obese and the annual medical cost of obesity (thanks to obesity related disease such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gout etc.) was 147 billion in 2008. I’ll let you digest those little morsels for a moment. If that’s not bad enough, about one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese.

And this is of course is fast becoming a global epidemic; the UK is now the fattest country in Europe and other countries once known for their admirable diets and physiques are now catching up thanks to the Western gift of ‘fast’ food. Fast. The worst, most insidious euphemism ever, what they mean by fast, is the fastest way to fffing kill you. Yes, I’m on one today. What of course put this bee in my bonnet was a recent (and harmless in its intent) article about what delectable (ahem) food items could be found at the Minnesota and Iowan State fairs this summer. Cause we all know a fair is a great place to sample gastronomic delights of the highest caliber.

Now, before I launch in, this is not an assault on America. It’s where I’m from and I hold it dear. Additionally, one only has to visit Scotland or the like to see that it’s not only America that is trying to kill its citizens (greasy take-away and deep fried Mars bar anyone?). But, America for some reason is on the fast track to worldwide domination in the obesity category and this should not be a subject of pride. From where I sit, our diets resemble how many Americans live their lives: Big. Fast, unfettered consumption with very little consequence. Can’t afford to have it, who cares, let’s have it anyway.

Now back to the fair. Apparently on the menu is an array of items guaranteed to give you a heart attack, and most items strangely come on a stick. Not sure why everything is put on a stick, maybe it’s so you can poke the person next to you for help as you’re falling for the ground, clutching your heart, screaming ‘dear god, this donut is giving me a freaking heart attack.’

For starters, at the Iowan State Fair, they are ponying out the deep fried Nacho ball. It is comprised of ground beef, jalapenos, cheese and a deep-fried Dorito Crust. Yes, you heard me right. Deep fried Doritos. If that isn’t enough, there is also apple pie on a stick (deep fried of course) covered in caramel sauce. Something called a toasted coconut caramel cluster, which is comprised of a pretzel, chocolate and caramel on stick. Minnesota, not to be undermined by Iowa, one can find something (on a stick!!) called a bacon explosion, which is brisket wrapped in bacon. Cause the brisket wasn’t enough to clog those arteries; as well as deep fried ribs, Italian desert nachos, a mac n cheese cupcake and for the denouement of a coronary bypass, the Stuffed Italian meatloaf. And you guessed it, ON A STICK.  I seriously feel ill just writing about it. I am all for the odd treat, and couldn’t live without my dark chocolate, but for god sakes people, if you are still eating anything deep fried covered in goopy sauce, you are asking for problems.

Here is the truth, being thin, athletic, in shape etc, is not easy. If it were easy, the whole country would look that way. It’s a choice, a commitment, a priority, and like most things in life, it’s about moderation and making wise choices. And yes, for many, it can be downright boring; but if I only have one round on this merry go round, I’m going to make it last as long as I can and feel good about myself. Do I have to be a size zero? Of course not, be the best you can be for the body type you were given. And of course, enjoy life. Have an ice cream now and then; just don’t eat the whole darn carton 7 days a week and wonder why you’re shooting insulin into your leg three times a day.

Furthermore, if you are raising children, PLEASE GOD stop setting the example that overindulging on a regular basis is okay. It’s not okay. This comes down to health, plain and simple, and teaching a child that he or she should take care of their body – and make actual choices - should be a priority for most people. Of course the King could bathe in bread and cheese all day, but he knows there is a limit and if he weighs 200 pounds at the age of 5, riding his bike is not going to happen (or we’d have to get him a much bigger bike). And that kid loves his bike more than cheese I can tell you that much.

So if it’s deep fried and comes on a stick, it’s probably a good idea to take one bite (if you must) then run like hell in the other direction and grab yourself an apple.
Copyright © 2014 Anthea Anka - Delighted And Disturbed