Wednesday, February 28, 2007

R.I.P. Ronald

I’m really glad that Prince Charles has enlightened nutritionists by telling them that banning McDonald’s is the “key” to controlling the problem of obesity in children in the U.K. Because McDonald’s is the only food that will make you fat and obviously all fat people eat at McDonald’s. All this from a man who watched his young, beautiful wife destroy herself with bulimia.

I know McDonald’s isn’t the healthiest choice on the block, but I think telling people they can’t have something is the absolute worst way to go about fighting obesity or teaching people in general how to eat healthier. Since I have problems with my kidneys thanks to SLE, I have had professional advice in the past on how to cut back on saltier foods. At the time, Taco Bell was my favorite food (yes, I was a teenager then), which seems like it wouldn’t be a good place to eat if you were trying to avoid salty food. Yet the nutritionist, armed with the nutrition information on Taco Bell foods, went over the list with me and told me how I could eat a reasonable meal there, by doing things like not eating the shell of the taco salad, not adding the taco sauce, etc. She didn’t say “don’t ever eat there”, but of course she told me I shouldn’t eat there often. Still, she took a lot of time and energy teaching me how to make smart choices even while eating out, and that kind of advice actually sunk in.

“Big” government these days seems to be awfully keen on simply banning things that might hurt us (except for cigarettes of course) instead of spending money on helping to teach people to be responsible. Sure, it won’t work with everyone (I’m not doing so well watching my salt these days, unfortunately), but a little bit of nutritional knowledge can go a long way to helping people make better choices in their diets, instead of prohibiting certain things and doing what seems to boil down to a criminalization of obesity. In the end, it is better to have a nation of overweight people who are making healthier choices most of the time, and getting exercise on a regular basis, than have a bunch of unhappy, lethargic obese citizens. Simply telling people “you’re too fat, you can’t eat at McDonald’s” isn’t going to change one damn thing, unless you strap them to a treadmill and force feed them tiny bits of salad and fruit three times a day. But I wouldn’t want to give anyone any ideas.

We give alcoholics, drug addicts, cigarette smokers and sex addicts the tools they need to improve themselves in a world filled with temptations, you’d think the world could give the same consideration to anyone with a weight problem, no matter how much of a problem it is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Every idea has its turn at the wheel. Unfettered capitalism (i.e. dog eat dog) is having it's way right now in most parts of the world. There is a backlash to it (in South America, for example). That will swing too far and return the other way yet again. Don't focus on little things like Ronald. It is symptomatic of something else. Also, don't repeat phrases (like "big government"). They are just code words to tie us up in knots by people who stand to make a handsome profit. Define instead what big government means to you (and leave Ronald out of it). The words mean absolutely nothing. Let people decide what size government they want or will tolerate without catch phrases. Think of the 20th century without "big government." Scary! Peace.