The Future of US Looks Thinner

Over the past decade, the rate of obesity among small children in the US dropped a whopping 43 percent drop. As the New York Times reported today, “About 8 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds were obese in 2012, down from 14 percent in 2004. ‘This is the first time we’ve seen any indication of any significant decrease in any group,’ said Cynthia L. Ogden, a researcher for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the lead author of the report.”

I knew it was coming. Like smoking, obesity is becoming less and less socially acceptable. And the social milieu is important. If people in your life are obese, you are more likely to be obese. This finding was published in a study about 7 years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine, as reported in the Times.

Saying that “obesity is becoming less and less socially acceptable” may sound cruel or insensitive, but obesity kills. It is one of the leading risk factors in early death. It must be treated as a public health issue, not soft pedaled because being overweight is a touchy subject. (Full disclosure: My BMI is currently on the cusp of the “Obese” range. I personally appreciate the peer pressure to slim down. It might save my life.)

As today’s Times article notes, “the lower obesity rates in the very young bode well for the future.”

Just as smoking has decreased, so too (I predict) that obesity will be seen more and more for what it is: a deadly, preventable and reversible medical condition.

One thought on “The Future of US Looks Thinner

  1. Thanks, Vini. Great comment. I appreciate your perspective and you’re gonna make me explain myself with greater precision and detail, a good thing for me and all bloggers to do, as I noted above.

    First, I should say that I am strongly in favor of the esthetics and emotional impact of a handwritten note…and anything handmade, for that matter. I have been the beneficiary of your “handiwork,” including many cooked meals, sung songs…and handwritten notes!

    That said, I object to those who say (not you, my dear) that any “decline” of handwritten communications is a loss for literacy. If this “decline” does exist, it is a loss of beauty and “the personal touch.” This is a loss (again, if it is true, and this is not the focus of my inquiry).

    When I started teaching in 1988 computers were just coming into the classroom. Most writing was still done by hand. When I first read Nancie Atwell’s landmark book about teaching writing to children, In the Middle, I don’t remember her talking about the use of computers. I do recall her talking about the importance of skipping lines when writing so that editing and insertion (with a pencil) were easier. She told writers they should only write on one side so that they could cut and paste their writing–literally!–as in using scissors and tape or paste.

    I also remember how much more difficult writing was for most of my students. Nowadays some 4th and 5th graders regularly write more than a thousand words on reports and creative writing pieces. This was something 7th and 8th graders were doing in the 90s. While I may like to think that my teaching has improved that much, I believe that children just plain write much more than they used to and this is mostly because of technology.

    Anecdotal evidence, I know, and no good argument should rely on it. Nonetheless, I think all this typing, texting, and “real time” netspeak is making us better writers.


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