Living Large | Teen Ink

Living Large

May 5, 2008
By Scoti Dodson, Keedysville, MD

What is it about water parks that gives people the desire to let it all hang out? America is the land of the free, home of the brave. I’d consider it brave to be seen in public like that. The land of opportunity surely makes plenty of buffets available, but gyms aren’t exactly in short supply. So why are so many Americans overweight? The ratio of fast-food options to affordable healthy alternatives is probably a factor. I had to dial Nancy Drew for that one.

From an early age, we Americans must fight an uphill battle with the fast-food industry. This is often blind warfare. They have the upper hand, attacking children with cute gimmicks and promises of a toy with their meal. How are we supposed to fight that? The addiction sets in young. We’re not taught about nutrition but convenience and the greatness that is the quarter-pounder with cheese. This bond could prove to be unbreakable. And it is certainly ­inescapable when you find fast-food restaurants on every corner. The hopes of adopting good eating habits when we’re all bred into a world of trans fats on a sesame-seed bun are slim to none.

More than what we eat, it’s how much we eat. The supersize is just 50 cents more, so why not? Because the large dinner carries over to a larger breakfast and a larger lunch, and a larger you, that’s why!

No doubt about it, America puts a whole new twist on “living large.” ­Portion sizes are outrageous. When Americans decide to eat a healthy meal, they are likely to overeat. And our bodies react just the way biology tells them to – we don’t waste the extra sustenance but turn it into a biological take-home box we can’t seem to throw out. If we were in danger of sudden food deprivation, this fat storage might come in handy, but for most of us it just provides us with every year’s New Year’s resolution.

And as we grow older, the fast-food ­industry’s tactics are enticing. Dinner for under five bucks? That’s almost unheard of! When you’re running short on cash and time, the dollar menu is the pot at the end of the rainbow. A pot filled with surprises you’ll find down the road, like heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure.

Believe me, the money saved eating fast food is not going to ­cover the hospital bills when you’re rushed into open heart surgery. Likewise, the convenience of those fries is going to be long gone when you’re on bed rest for three months, waiting for your sternum to heal after they sawed you open. Don’t worry though; you can walk away from the experience with a cute little scar across your chest – if you’re lucky.

With a culture so gung-ho on the idea of cheap convenience, it’s a wonder the entire population isn’t overweight. The country would certainly bide well with a reduction in fast food, and I’m sure our water parks would benefit too.

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This article has 24 comments.

on Jul. 24 2012 at 7:31 pm
MckennaS PLATINUM, Port St Lucie, Florida
21 articles 0 photos 56 comments

Favorite Quote:
Well, I’m well.
Well, I mean I’m in hell.
Well, I still have my health
At least that’s what they tell me
If wellness is this, what in hell’s name is sickness?"

While obesity is nothing to be proud of, if someone is not obese or morbidly obese, rather overweight, then I think they should be able to feel comfortable in their own body. There are other things that factor into an overweight BMI such as genetics. As long as someone isn't suffering from health problems caused by their weight, I think they should be praised for their acceptance and confidence regarding their bodies.

KatsK DIAMOND said...
on Feb. 15 2012 at 9:30 pm
KatsK DIAMOND, Saint Paul, Minnesota
57 articles 0 photos 303 comments

Favorite Quote:
Being inexhaustible, life and nature are a constant stimulus for a creative mind.
~Hans Hofmann
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
~Ray Bradbury

I agree . . . . It's always nice to hear other sarcastic-but-in-a-good-way people, and the issue that you brought to light needs to be addressed.

Beca98 said...
on May. 27 2011 at 11:24 am
Brilliant article :D Obesity is serious and if you take to it lightly your most likely not to be taking it seriously . And the sarcasm is nice :) at least you can point out what other people hide. 

on Apr. 13 2011 at 4:42 pm
ohmakemeover BRONZE, Centerville, Minnesota
3 articles 0 photos 99 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth."- Margaret Atwood

Obesity is, obviously, a serious and life-threatening health issue, but it should tackled lightly and with sensitivity.  I worry about obesity because I have obese family members and I want them to live healthier, happier, more mobile lives.  Weight-shaming isn't okay.  Obese people at waterparks obviously have a lot of confidence, and we aren't their diet police.  You should try to fight obesity with hope and positivity, not put-downs.

reenay_95 GOLD said...
on Dec. 24 2010 at 11:27 pm
reenay_95 GOLD, West Lafayette, Indiana
16 articles 0 photos 87 comments

Favorite Quote:
You can't see the stars if you are always looking down.

I kinda like the sarcastic attitude throughout the piece.

mikeymike said...
on Nov. 10 2010 at 1:25 pm
Who do you think you are?

on Jul. 8 2010 at 6:27 pm
giggles38 BRONZE, San Jose, California
2 articles 0 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
Come as you are -Kurt Cobain

its not the fact that people are big....thats not what this article is really pointing out, sure eating fast food will make you bigger, but the real point is that people are so unhealthy that they are dying of eating too much! Obesity leads to so many other illnesses and thats what this article is pointing out...but i guess if people want to die young or get a heart attack they are welcome to do so.

on Jun. 9 2010 at 5:09 pm
allisonl97 BRONZE, =), Wisconsin
2 articles 0 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
I dont really have a fav quote

OMG!!! I love the intro!

on Jan. 6 2010 at 4:09 pm
yellownailvarnish BRONZE, Bourne, Other
4 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?"
-John Lennon

I know that America is often more associated with obesity than the UK but I would just like to mention that over because of the NHS system of health care obesity is putting an unnessesary strain on the health system that could be prevented. Also the money spent on treating obesity related illness (such as heart attacks and strokes) could be saved and spent on treating patients with diseases that they did not inflict upon themselves.

Btw this was a good article with well made points thy show a maturity of understanding on the subject. I also get your point about the appeal of fast food and likethat you have considered the reasons why people choose it.

on Jan. 6 2010 at 3:59 pm
yellownailvarnish BRONZE, Bourne, Other
4 articles 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?"
-John Lennon

A healthy lifestyle is not anorexia I think you need to learn the difference.

on Jan. 3 2010 at 3:01 pm
Nicolioliolsterz_1 GOLD, Manassas, Virginia
14 articles 0 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy.
Scott Alexander

A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.
Emily Dickinson

Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.
Emily Dickinson

Shutting down fast food restaraunts isn't the problem(facism), it sthe people who feel the need to eat mcdonalds and burger king 24/7 7 days a week. And so what if people are big or fat like people tend to say. Just as you like to live your life thats how they like to live there life. I personally think you need to get over yourself!

sed91 said...
on Sep. 13 2009 at 3:06 pm
Alyssa J.-- I didn't blame America :) I was confronting the issue of fast food marketing affecting the way we look at food.

Thanks for the geography lesson. I know where New York is. Also, many people, in case you didn't know, don't actually live in New York and DON'T get the exercise they need. Yay for New Yorkers and other equally exercised city-dwellers.

Sunshineyday said...
on Jul. 22 2009 at 5:16 pm
I like your mature understanding of the issue! It has become a problem in our culture. Maybe if they at least used less processing and chemicals - but that would be more expensive and hurt their bottom line. But we must remeber that we DON'T HAVE TO eat it.

Alyssa Jane said...
on May. 17 2009 at 8:07 pm
Alyssa Jane, Bellingham, Washington
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments
I think you're making an incorrect assumption about Americans. Of course, there are overweight people in the U.S, but what about Canada? I've seen many fast food restraunts there. Did you know that New Yorkers probably walk more than anybody in the world? New York, by the way, is in America. There are overweight people all over the world and I'm sick of hearing people blame it on America.

on Mar. 24 2009 at 2:00 am
iTrumpet42 BRONZE, Clarence Center, New York
2 articles 0 photos 10 comments
I agree with not closing down fast food reasturants

Sriusly, if i really wanted to be anerexic i would, i dont need all these people telling em wat 2 do

sd89 said...
on Jan. 25 2009 at 4:27 pm
I never said they should be shut down :)

angelalynn said...
on Jan. 25 2009 at 5:16 am
you cant shut down fast food restaurants because the food there is terrible for you. that's called fascism. it frowned on in America. if you don't like the food that they serve, then don't eat there, no one is forcing it down your throat.

each specific person is responsible for their own health, and if health isn't a priority to them, so be it.

on Jan. 22 2009 at 5:35 pm
I thought this was a good article. I liked how it showed what would happen if we don't quit eating all of the bad fast food.

mrocky111 said...
on Jan. 21 2009 at 7:47 pm
you are right this is a huge problem that needs to be stopped instead of fast food get a salad instead of supersize normal size

SAP said...
on Jan. 21 2009 at 7:45 pm
i agree the giants are the absolute worst team in the national football leauge but the cowboys, boy dont even get me started on that mess. The colts are the best team on the leauge, just leave it at that.