Obesity and the American obsession with “food”.

I know I am just cribbing my own comment posted on Babble, but I thought it merited being posted here. The question of obesity and the American obsession with food is something I cannot get over. In this case, Bloomberg, our mayor, feels that banning super sized sodas will cure obesity. Although, I agree with comments on Babble that say this is not the solution, I do not agree with the why. Our nation’s obesity does not derive from the consumption of a particular product or the lack of self control, but a fundamentally flawed approach to food.

Here is the link to the story/post: http://blogs.babble.com/babble-voices/good-enough-is-perfect-rene-syler/2012/06/01/the-slippery-sugary-slope/

And here is my comment for what it’s worth. I could say much more, but this sums it up:

“I find the collective American obsession with food fascinating. It is the only country on earth with such a sick and twisted relationship with food. Diets. Low this low that. Ban this ban that. Women (and worse young girls) who feel the need to poke at food with a look of disgust on their face as if it was their worst enemy. So many reasons for this perverse way of relating to and consuming food, but first and foremost is the fact that we are never humble enough as a nation to look beyond our borders to see how other cultures relate to food. Food is about family, it is about gathering around a table convivially, cooking a meal and eating it together, spending time together and talking to each other face-to-face. The health aspect is a fortuitous consequence that works better in some cultures than others, but regardless it is secondary to what food is about even in countries where it is abundant. When children grow up in a culture that relates to the food on the social and not biological level it makes them happier and healthier. The kicker is that we are one of the most multicultural nations in the word – with the best of the world cultures to draw from at our finger tips – and we can’t even be bothered. Sad really.

And to the point about prohibition, it still very much exists in this country. The absurd law that makes alcohol illegal for those under the age of 21 makes it all the more desirable for the most gullible, easily influenced and immature demographics. They can’t have it and unlike in other cultures it is not part of a controlled and pleasant communal activity such as “a glass of wine with your dinner”, it is just forbidden because no one (just like with food) knows how to integrate it culturally as something to be enjoyed and not abused – and that is why it is a problem in this country and not in others. But that is a whole other post…”


5 thoughts on “Obesity and the American obsession with “food”.

  1. Bruce Sallan says:

    I’ve been “obsessed” with food my whole life but never had a weight problem until recently…and it isn’t all that bad. After listening to a friend wax poetic about the health results he got from going Vegan and after watching the documentary, “Forks Over Knives,” I’ve switched to a whole foods Vegan diet.

    Now, I’m more obsessed!

    • New York Dad says:

      That still sounds cultural to me. And don’t get me wrong, “thin” does not necessarily mean that you have a healthy approach to eating and to food. There are those who diet on protein shakes and steroids who have muscles in places you couldn’t imagine and still they are putting their body through a ridiculous amount of stress. Eat what you want when you want, but if you are eating “sur la table” or “a tavola” as the French and Italian say (and I would argue they are culturally they are amongst the best examples of how eating should be done) then you are eating right whether you are eating sushi, tamales, risotto or naan. If vegan is what brings you to the table then great as long as you are doing it in the right mind set and enjoying the moment – especially when you share it with others.

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