Pound for Pound: Weighing in on America’s Fat Epidemic

By: Ernie Hurt

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I can almost taste the giblet gravy and smell the homemade bread. Sweet pumpkin pies with endless Kool-Whip, and the anticipation of a 6 o’clock nap make drool form on the corners of my lips. As with most holidays in my home growing up, a feast was sure to ensue and id ingest about eight thousand calories in one day. But as most of you will agree, it’s OK! Its Thanksgiving!

The morning after Ill curse myself for the stomach pains and indigestion…. Some of you may know but in case you have no idea who I am, I will tell you I am a bigger guy. Always have been. I wore the same size pants as my father when I entered kindergarten. In high school I weighed 366lbs but not in the athletic linebacker way.

I took quite a bit of shit in school for my size but nowadays it doesn’t bother me at all to be the “big” guy. I’ve accepted it, as has 62% of the developed world. The word “Obesity” conjures many images, mainly of large people on handicap scooters , humming down the local Wal-Mart isles, or the shut-in’s on the Maury Show that couldn’t gnaw their way out of their own homes. Yes these may be extreme cases, but it seems to be the newest water mark in the obesity epidemic.
There are many possible theories and misguided truths when you talk about overweight people. Could be psychological, could be economic status, could be ethnicity or could just be plain stupidity…and not stupid as in not being able to do math problems but ignorance to the fact America and many industrial countries are being turned into large grazing fields for plump, docile cows.

Science will tell you man has always felt the need to gorge himself on great tasting things. Early man stuffed himself full at every avail because it was hard to come by and you had to literally “work your ass off” to get it. Now this worked perfectly fine for thousands of years, with few fatties in the gene pool. With the industrial revolution and evolving times, man has more leisure time on his hand than ever before. If you think about it, this leisure time would have been spent walking miles or fighting off terrible beasts but now it’s spent eating prepackaged food in front of your T.V. or other electronic devices sucking up radiation and oozing poison.

So much work and engineering has gone into watering down foods, mainly for profit of the company, with cheap fillers and preservatives. As anyone at all familiar with business will tell you, more shit to sell usually nets a lower cost. Statistics will tell you higher obesity rates can be found in poor, sometimes urban areas. Places where every penny must be counted in order to keep your head above water. The middle and lower class’s tend to spend on more unhealthy foods, foods that will go farther and impose less strain on the pocket book. Not to mention the terrible, gang ridden neighborhoods that a lot of poverty stricken families are forced to live. Who wants to jog when you could get stabbed in the collar bone and left for dead in front of a seedy convenience store?
West Virginia and Mississippi officially tie for the title of fattest state. Not surprising considering the Mid-Southern U.S has been dubbed the “Diabetes Belt” for decades; the home of Soul Food and anything that can be battered and fried. The South holds on to old world views regarding food. Their great granddads ate the same unhealthy meals they enjoy every Sunday. Despite recent efforts to control the “epidemic” by government and Michele Obama herself, the rate grows every year. After all its going to take a lot of work to stop something that has been passed down several generations.

Six or seven generations ago people couldn’t give a shit less about healthy foods and most couldn’t even read, yet many Americans still follow their little favorite recipes, like the one for Paw Paws Five Fat Chili. Even on a broader scale, baby boomers have the highest rates of obesity. Not only do they not have the energy to burn the shit off, they don’t have the knowledge that is so widely available in modern times. They usually eat what they like and have liked for years. Southern Americans are not the only people stuck in olden times when it comes to food. It’s widely believed in Latino cultures that a fat baby is a healthy baby. In the South Pacific islands, being larger in stature has been linked to health, beauty and status for centuries, leaving many descendants to see it the same way. The only place on the globe not affected by obesity in the Sub Sahara Africa, either it’s too damn hot to eat or they still have their heads screwed on right- or they are dying of starvation.
I may come off as a self-hating fat guy, but that’s truly not the case. While I’m not in fit condition, what gives me the right to bad mouth someone’s size. After all, it could genuinely not be their fought. Shit genetics’, Illness or hormonal problems may be working some heinous magic, forcing these people to pack on fat they don’t want.

Weight even comes down to ethnic background as well. African Americans have the highest percentage of overweight people, followed my Latino’s and Native Americans. All these factors compiled cost our country more than two trillion dollars a year. That’s more than alcohol and almost as much as tobacco related Illnesses. Another source I ran across claimed there are more people are overweight and obese in the world than those who are malnourished. That’s a really heavy thought considering how many “Save The Children” infomercials I’ve seen in my life.

Will our world ever see what’s really going on with our bodies? Why does healthier food have to cost so much more than its cookie cutter counterpart? Why does every expert claim his/her own personal diet is the best for you to lose weight? Why are there 200 different weight supplements on the counter of ever gas station? So many Americans are unhappy with their weight, yet throw a sugar driven fit when politics try to step in and say “Hey No more 64oz buckets of pop. Some trash talk fast food, all the while shoveling Cheetos down their throats. Others will tell you they don’t have time, but insist on showing you their newest WoW achievements.


Studies are now being released that say our that over half of the world population will be obese by 2030, which may be hard for some of you to swallow but for others it should go down easy enough….


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