Years of experience playing youth, middle school, and high school sports have peaked with me now being a college rower. I attend a private, liberal arts school in Southern Maine where most everyone is interested in fitness (or at least looking attractive enough to score). I very rarely see anyone overweight at school, where I spend the vast majority of my time, so when I leave campus I am always shocked into remembering America's obesity issues.
Why are colleges an island of relative fitness in a sea of overweight complacency? Good question. The easiest answer is that they are stocked full of 18-22 year olds, which for many are the thinnest years of their lives regardless of exercise. However, there must be more to it than that! From my experiences, many of the smartest, most driven people I've ever met have been my college teammates. All of whom are incredibly fit. From that, I can't help but assume a strong correlation between academic/work success and body image.
I'm not intending this as a tirade against anyone overweight. I think most success and happiness in life comes from confidence. For many, especially at high school or college ages, body image plays a huge role in that. So, why do so many Americans let themself go down the road to complacency about their body?
My best guess is that society has pushed Americans to it. Fast food restaurants at every corner offer not only the most convenient food options for hurried customers, but the cheapest. Who keeps these places in business? Overwhelmingly the very poor. And yes, there is has repeatedly been found to be a correlation between poverty and obesity.
So I ask you, readers, what can be done about this? How can the active lifestyle (except maybe too much pizza during finals week) of college be rolled over into society? Michelle Obama has repeatedly pushed an agenda for a war on (especially childhood) obesity, but we are not progressing very much yet. Is removing fast food from impoverished areas (once tried in LA slums) going to solve the problem?
Is taxing or outlawing excessively fatty foods more viable?