THE "BIG MAC" VS. THE "BIG CLACK"
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!
If you have been listening, reading and watching the news over the last year, it seems that certain groups have decided to blame McDonald's for their children's obesity. Here we go again; when in doubt, blame someone else.
Well, I hate to burst the bubble of all those who are pointing the finger at the "Golden Arches," but the problem isn't what's in McDonald's; it's what's in the home.
Before I explain myself, allow me to reminisce.
As a youngster growing up in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania, I remember eating food loaded with grease. The more grease the better it tasted.
Yet my friends and I were not overweight, and I know why. Let's take the summer months, for example. A typical breakfast consisted of bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs, and hash browns smothered with grease, and we could always ask for seconds. After breakfast, I ran out of the house to play. My peers and I picked teams and played sandlot baseball until lunch. There wasn't an empty baseball field to be seen.
Following a lunch of cheeseburgers, covered with lettuce, a slice of tomato, and good old-fashioned, grease-ladened mayonnaise, with a hefty side order of fries, we rushed to the local pools and swan most of the afternoon away. After our water activities, we rode our bikes all around town (sometimes with no hands) until supper.
Now supper consisted of roast beef, deeply submerged in gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables, real butter-on-bread, and a dessert often consisting of cake and ice cream.
As we excused ourselves from the supper table, Dad would always assert, "Be home before dark." Again, we were constantly on the go, playing "capture the flag," cowboys and Indians, army battles, or just riding our bikes (sometimes with no hands) until dark.
I'm sure you're getting the picture; our bodies were always on the move, eating up 1000s of calories (many more than McDonald's could ever offer), with every physical activity we pursued.
Today, however, modern technology has changed the activities of our youngsters, and there's no sweat involved. They're clacking away, playing action-packed computer games or "surfin' the web" hours upon hours each day. Often the result: obesity.
If you don't believe me, check the baseball fields in the summer. Except for the couple of hours in the evening with organized league games, they're empty the rest of the day!
Bikes are collecting dust in the cellars, and you'll find very few teenagers in wellness centers or high school gyms working out. If we thought TV was bad, the computer puts the television to shame when it comes to apathy regarding the realm of physical activity.
Oh yeah, kids are a lot smarter today. Unfortunately, many of them are physical wrecks. Too much of anything is not good for the physical, emotional, or social well-being of the individual. Moderation is the key. Mankind's greatest technological advance is the creation of computers. They help in the business realm, disseminate knowledge of all kind, enlighten us on what's going on all over the world, and assist in educating our children.
But we have lost perspective; computers are a means to the end, and not the end in themselves! One must never forget the human factor. No one has ever thanked a computer for changing his or her life in a monumental fashion. Instead, we remember that "special person" (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, coach, friend, etc.), who pointed us in the right direction.
To be honest, I am typing this column on a laptop, and will send it via an e-mail attachment. However, I was previously, physically working out for an hour and a half, sweating on my stationary bike, and doing sit-ups and push-ups - and I'm almost 60 years old!
In sum, don't blame the "Big Mac," but the "Big Clack," for our children's obesity. Then you will finally be on the right track!