Obesity rationalization reckless

On Sept. 21 Dr. Deborah Cohen, a senior natural scientist at the Rand Corporation, gave a lecture on campus focusing on the root cause behind America's outlandish obesity rate, which is – get this – our environment! Apparently the fact that we are a nation of lazy gluttons, who hate exercise, but love quadruple big-gulps, is of no consequence. 


Cohen's main contention was that easy access to low-cost junk foods and the increased prevalence of fast food ads are the primary source of our collective obesity. 


Her bizarre rationalization of unhealthy lifestyles only reinforces America's distant relationship to reality.  This is not dissimilar to the "every child is special" ideal that has been so heavily promoted over the past generation.  Guess what America, you're not special, not even a little bit! Oh, and you're also fat!


Really fat! According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 70 percent of Americans are overweight. Nearly half those cases are more accurately classified as obese, which is grossly overweight to the point of being a serious health risk. This astounding rate of obesity places an unbearable burden on our society, and propagating this issue as anything other than a result of laziness and lack of impulse control is reckless. 


Cohen claims that eating is an automatic, rather than voluntary behavior. "We think that obesity is initially self-control or not having knowledge, but that has nothing to do with the problem," she said. Really? Self-control has nothing to do with obesity?


You don't have to be a senior natural scientist to see the holes in that logic. Automatic or not, self-control has everything to do with obesity.


Sure, the impulse to eat, and sustain life, is instinctual. One of the defining characteristics of mankind is our innate ability to make conscious decisions to suppress even our most primitive inclinations. This singular trait distinguishes man from the beast. To infer that we cannot control our simple urges is just another excuse for suspect behavior.


It is high time that Americans start taking responsibility for their actions (or in this case inactions) and assign blame where blame is due.  It is not the environment's fault you are fat.  It's not the banks fault that the house you couldn't afford, is now in foreclosure. And chances are, it's not your parent's fault that you are a social delinquent. Actually, that might be their fault.


Regardless, it's time for America to man-up. Our overriding cultural tendency to avoid broaching any topic which might be construed as offensive, combined with a disingenuous propensity for political correctness, are leading us down the dark path to idiocy, and driving us further from the unmerciful embrace of reality. 


We must stop lying to ourselves, and to each other, in an attempt to placate the portly populace. In fact, it would likely serve society better to go the opposite route: brutally honest to the point of offensiveness.


In lieu of more confounding concepts, such as diet and exercise, which require effort and discipline, overweight America simply needs to exercise a little impulse control.  Stop being enslaved by your environment.  You are American Dammit! Absolutely nothing, and no one, impresses their will upon you. Least of all, THE ENVIRONMENT! You spent the last century bending her to your will, and now, when she's all but broken, you relent? C'mon, double chins-up America.  You're better than that!