Obesity can’t be separated from a nation that is all about Bigness

MARLBORO — While reading Paige Martin's piece on childhood obesity [Viewpoint, June 12], I found myself considering her stance against the “big is bad and little is good” argument in a broader spectrum than just body size.

Her point in its explicit application has merit; the issue, however, does not stand disconnected from a host of others.

Although a pantheon of academic theorists has largely convinced us that any significant development can be stripped from the larger surrounding picture with no painful repercussions or blowback, logic decrees that every action has a reaction.

The world as a holistic entity must be understood holistically. Nothing we do ends with our intent satisfied: the ripples keep spreading. Our current economic model of endless growth in a finite space is a pertinent example.

As Americans, we seem to believe that a God-granted manifest destiny has given us the unilateral right to eat the whole planet.

We are all about Big. With about 3.5 percent of the world's population, the United States gobbles up 25 percent of the earth's resources.

Within that figure, just in the food area, 25 percent of our produced food is wasted, discarded as garbage.

We build Big houses, drive Big vehicles, and have Big road systems. Our Big military nearly equals the combined forces of the entire world (that other 96.5 percent); we have wars so Big they will never end. Within our Big jails, a higher percentage of our population is incarcerated than any country on Earth.

And last, but certainly not least, Big corporations own the entire economy, government, and destiny of the Earth.

Clearly, Big is a problem and a deeply ingrained cultural behavior - maybe our primary default position. Bringing to light the obesity issue as part of a much-larger picture is a necessary starting point to becoming a healthier people and possibly to acquiring a healthier consideration of what living large means.

“Obese” is a cruel word now in vogue, one that supplanted other cruel words. There is no disagreement about replacing it.

We should, however, be capable of correcting the condition, not just softening the euphemism or avoiding the discussion.

It has been said the military used to “service the target,” rather than shoot people. Everyone was just as dead.

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