Slice of Life Story Challenge March 18 -Fat Chance of Good News From Mississippi


I get my news from a variety of sources,. It comes to me across the day and night. – delivered by print media, particularly at the start of the day, electronic media such as my phone and Ipad to television news from then on throughout the day until I retire at night. I embrace them all as sources. Even when I’m driving, I seek out news reports. I also use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to uncover news trends. It’s fair to say I’m a news junkie. I crave knowledge of events and I particularly like quirky news items that spark my interests or get me thinking.

So it was today, when I read about recent events in Mississippi. Mississippi, the most obese state in the US, has just passed a bill prohibiting any city, town or county from introducing legislation that might in any way prevent people ingesting foodstuffs that might contribute further to obesity. In other words, Mississippi has enshrined the right of people to gorge themselves to death, if they so please.

Restaurants will not be able to label menus with calorie contents or warn eaters of the dangers of over –eating specifics foods. This is in a state where 35% of adults are morbidly obese. George Holloway, a Mississippi state politician, is quoted as saying, “if you want to go eat 20 Big Macs, you can eat 20 Big Macs.’  By George, that’s up there for unhelpful remarks.

Living in a country (Australia) where people crave more information as well as accurate information regarding the calorific content of food items, where national campaigns have been launched to fight this ‘epidemic’ I found this news report quite alarming. Not quirky, not humorous –but alarming!

Obesity is an issue in most affluent nations. It is a disease of affluence. I am constantly reminded of something my wife said to me some years ago. ‘You owe it to yourself and your family to look after your health.’ So, I walk, I monitor my health and above all I watch what goes in my gob. I am a gob monitor. I try to cook fresh and eat fresh. I am alienated from the fast food corporations. I give them nothing. I accept nothing from them. The words' Diet Coke' are in my opinion an oxymoron. I read the labels on food items I buy in the supermarket. I also recall the words of a world renowned nutritional expert I once heard interviewed on television. His advice, ‘Try not to eat anything your Grandmother wouldn’t recognize as being food.’  I’m certainly not perfect, but I am watchful for my health’s sake.

Where do the rights of individuals to eat their lives away end and the rights of the society in which they live in relation to the health costs begin? Sadly, the ever increasing cost of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and various cancers is borne by the state; the nation. It’s a burden. Such state condoned chronic over eating delivers a bitter harvest  in the form of an enormous health bill for the entire population. There must exist a tipping point where the greater good is considered.

We are told, ‘Knowledge is power.’  The people of Mississippi are to be denied basic information regarding the dangers of over eating and calorific content in order to pander to large corporations, and vested interests such as the restaurant and hospitality industry. This abrogation of responsibility has been conveniently draped in the cloak of so called, ‘personal choice.’  That’s self delusion.

Sadly, it seems Mississippians have had a history of having any moves to tackle obesity thwarted.  Common sense isn’t really all that common. Knowingly eating yourself into an early grave, is grossly self indulgent. Will the legislators see the light. Fat chance, it seems. The countdown has begun –one Mississippi, two Mississippi

Comments

  1. Your essay is intriguing to me. I have begun to eat to nourish since the beginning of this year. I have thrown away the scale and simply put in my mouth that which will feed me--all of me.

    Your comments, though, about eating oneself to an early grave being grossly self-indulgent seem harsh to me. Self-indulgent or self-unaware? Eating is a complex task. And nourishment of soul is multifaceted. For years I have been one who has eaten without always knowing why--but on a deep level, my eating was feeding a need. Through grace and through work, this is changing.

    Thanks for your compelling writing. As always, your writing intrigues.

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  2. I think the move is more about personal accountability and against governmental control than corporate interest. Do we have to have the calorie count listed to know whether or not something is good for us to eat? Interestingly, I went to a comedian's show this weekend, and while being hilarious at times, he brought out some very good points. One of these was on this subject. Thanks for sharing these ideas, too. I always come away from your writing with lots to think about.

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