The latest news to alarm us is that obesity is threatening to outperform malnutrition. The numbers of overweight in this world are overtaking the underfed and hungry. How can that be? At the same time I read an article whereby it was suggested that at cinemas there ought to be healthier snacks available. The suggestion seems well intentioned but would it not be better to avoid snacking altogether? It can’t be that hard going without eating for just a couple of hours. Is it true and a fact that eating has become part of all our physical activities? We can now only walk, drive, catch buses and trains, talk, read, watch TV and movies and even lose weight, but only if we continue lifting our arm to mouth to put something in it. We are as yet not eating while sleeping but I am sure the Multi National Sugar & Fat and Salt (SFS) merchants have their best scientists working on it.
Go to the chemist and the window display will have dietary advice that mainly advises buying more food from them. Sure, it is food the chemist (on his podium) claims slims, but this can’t be as effective as refraining from taking food altogether. They are not there to tell you not to buy anything from them, are they? This is the problem; obesity is so much part of our well oiled and lubricated economic machinery. The giants of Coca Cola, Cadbury, Nestle, Mars, PepsiCo, Big M, KFC and many others would take a dim view if fingers were pointed at them being responsible for one of the most serious health issues of all times. Tinker with those boys and next you’ll have an ‘OECD Spring revolution’ as well. It is not all that farfetched to envisage thousands of the very large bodied on the streets, yielding petrol loaded Cokes and giant Chico rolls rioting, causing mayhem and destruction. They are now totally addicted to eating, chewing, masticating and getting larger and larger. Both the SFS Multi Nationals and their addicted disciples have a vested interest to keep the status quoi.
It will be one of the most interesting future events to watch. How will health organizations tackle this perplexing dilemma? It will be a fiercely contested battle with the western world already fighting a severe economic wilting; it will take brave politicians standing for health above economic growth risking further shrinkage of their voters consuming habits. The problem is that those consuming habits are so consuming it is killing them. At some stage we might have to consider the possibility that our lifestyle of consuming endless SFS products can’t be beneficial if many die as a consequence. What’s the point of economic growth if the country is littered with the dead or premature dying of millions from the effect of a booming economy that approves known deadly foods?
Of course, there are some signs of brave politicians emerging from the cauldron of indecisiveness and loathsome neglect, willing to take action. Was it Denmark who was first of the block cunningly raising revenue on fat, and lowering obesity? The Danish SFS merchants screamed blue murder, enraged with the imposition on eating habits. This is a censorship of some kind, they shouted. Where is the freedom, our freedom to eat what we like? No, said the sage Government, not if it kills.
On the train yesterday was a large man whose stomach was rolling over his shorts. He seemed in a deep sleep while resting his left hand on a bottle of Coke which was balanced upright on his enormous knee. Every now and then he would wake up somewhat startled take a sip out of his drink but promptly went back to his slumbering state again. I couldn’t help but feel but feel that the sugary drink was his umbilical cord keeping him still alive. At the railway platforms the machines that sell those drinks charge $3.20 for a coke and an astonishing same amount for plain water. What would happen if the Coke was $ 6.40 and the water free? The extra $ 3.20 raised could go to those thousands in hospitals with the results of Coke poisoning. The wiser ones would quench their thirst on the free water and be so much the healthier for it, having beaten their addiction. Those pernicious tuck shops at school, the bane of my mother’s discontent when we all went to schools. What’s wrong with my cut sandwiches, she asked? If we were really brave, surely those tuck shops would have disappeared by now. They are nothing but a stepping stone to obesity. Why, have those at all? Is snacking in between meals not one of those physical habits that have become so entrenched? In no time at all, does the snacking school kid turn into a full blown victim of bad dietary habits.
If we are serious about good eating habits, let’s get rid of snacking, just for starters mind you!