I read all the time about how the population is getting fatter and how obesity is becoming epidemic in many first world countries. But I don't see it much in my every day life. I'd consider myself a little overweight, but certainly not obese or even fat. Comfortably plump, maybe? A little rotund? Well padded? Curvy?
Yesterday I took the kids to the water slides, and I was horrified at the number of genuinely fat people I saw. A lot of them kids and teenagers. Mainly girls, too.
When I was a kid, there was usually only one fat kid at school; now it seems like a good third of kids are what I would consider chunky at the least. Is this because of TV and computer games? Because parents are scared to let their kids run around outside without supervision? Because kids don't walk or bike to school every day?
I don't have an answer, but I suspect it's a mixture of things. I know when I was a kid we ran around outside a lot. We roller skated and biked and jumped rope. We hurled ourselves off monkey bars and played all kinds of vicious ball-games in the playground. As long as we were home for dinner, we could play anywhere in the neighborhood.
And we did....
By the creek. In the construction sites. Up the back of a newly developed subdivision. At the school down the road. And anyone's house who invited us.
Is life more dangerous for kids nowadays, or are we just more aware of the dangers? We rode bikes without helmets. We climbed trees. We skateboarded without any pads or wrist-supports. Did we hurt ourselves? Hell, yeah. Do kids hurt themselves now? Of course they do. There's always someone with their arm in a cast or stitches in their chin. Maybe not so many though.
Kids were abused in my day. Pedophiles and flashers did their dirty business. Occasionally a kid would go missing and for a few days that would be front page news. But after the scare was over, parents relaxed again and kids were allowed to roam free again.
Has the world really got that much worse? Or are we just more frightened of the things we can't control? And is this fear making people fat?