Fueling America

You see it every day.  The middle aged adult walking with a cane or worse, needing a wheelchair.  The 10 year old waddling down the street.  The lines out doors of burger joints.  But do you really see it?  Is our society becoming immune to the growing problem of obesity?

I think that we are becoming immune to the obesity epidemic.  It is very relatable to smoking cigarettes; we all know the medical risks involved in smoking, but people do it anyway.  The one thing that you control the most in this world is your own body.  Why do so many people give up that control?  That answer I do not know.

There is plenty of literature out there that speaks on the topics of the direct negative effects of obesity and the direct positive effects of healthy eating.  The fact this type of research exists and people choose to ignore it is mind-blowing.  Instead of taking control of our eating habits, we have become a society that looks for a one pill solution.  The power of nutrition is at our fingertips, but many decide to ignore it.  I will however give the benefit of the doubt to some because there is very little done in terms of education on the topic.  Most doctors have very little experience nutrition, which in itself makes very little sense.

Perhaps the scariest part of the whole country-wide epidemic is the obesity of the children.  If a parent’s job is to set their children up for success into the future, then I think a lot of parents are failing miserably.  How can children learn to take care of complex issues without learning how to take care of themselves first?  It’s a big building block that so many children are missing.  It has gone well beyond children wanting the occasional candy bar or soda that I feel like I grew up with.

Working at a family golf center, I see this in action week after week.  We have a small concession stand that offers fried food, burgers, candy, and soda; basically nothing that you would want to be putting in your body on a consistent basis.  And day after day, children run in and beg their parents for these foods.  More times than not, the parents oblige.  More times than not, the child could visibly do without it.

However, it all got me to thinking: who is wrong in this situation?  Are the parents wrong for buying their already overweight children this garbage or are we as a golf center that I consider a business that should promote a healthy lifestyle?  I think that the answer is both.  Obviously parents need to take much more responsibility in the epidemic themselves.  If parents are overweight themselves, then they should know the side effects and more easily communicate them to their children.  But as a business that promotes physical activity, why don’t we encourage healthy eating as well?

Small business holds the keys for change.  Big business has no motive to change because they are driven strictly by money and not by community relationships.  Many small businesses are engrained in their communities and have a special relationship.  The golf center that I work at has been a part of the community for close to 50 years.  They make their money, but they aren’t necessarily money driven.  They are driven by the people.  If we simply changed up the food that we offer to something healthier to match our naturally promoted exercise, then wouldn’t we be doing a public service of sorts?  I would think so because it goes beyond simply educating.  It is a proactive approach and laying options out there right away.

Of course, we are just one of the millions of small businesses in the United States.  We would be helping our small community, but other small businesses need to step up and help their small communities.  The message of the consequences of obesity is not reaching the masses.  The message of eating healthier eating is not reaching the masses.  So why doesn’t small business bring the message to the people?  They have the trust of the people around them.  I’m sure people would not abandon the local family golf center because they eliminated fried foods and started offering healthier options.

Small business holds the keys to begin chipping away at the obesity epidemic.  Education isn’t working in the wide-scale ways that everyone had hoped.  Small business can show people the way and spread the message directly to people that already trust the business.  Maybe it helps.  Maybe it doesn’t.  Either way something needs to be done and the message needs to heard.


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