Regardless of your feelings on the ridiculous BMI scale, fat shaming, or how cruel and arbitrary doctors can be when treating people they deem to be unhealthy and overweight, there’s no doubt that obesity and unhealthy habits are creating a health crisis in America.
No one in charge has been able (or perhaps willing) to take the necessary steps to fix it, so why not toss the question to Reddit?
Here are some not terrible ideas from 13 people who’ve spent some time thinking about it.
13. We need real healthy choices.
As a fat non-American, there’s only one way to stop it.
Make healthy food cheap an easily accessible, and unhealthy food expensive and not easily accessible.
Also all schools should offer healthy lunches.
Honestly the rest is bullshit – because if you’re overworked, underpaid, depressed, and tired, you are going to opt for that 1 dollar burger instead of spending time, money, energy on a balanced meal.
12. Give people more time.
I think this hits the nail on the head.
I work a pretty physical job but not enough to actually lose weight doing it. By the time I actually get home I’m already sore and exhausted, the last thing I want to do is more exercise.
You’re also right about having very little time. I shower, do my laundry. Read mail/emails and respond, make and eat dinner. Not to mention I have to study for certain tests I need to take.
Add in that other people might be working while going to school it’s almost impossible to find any time to really do anything healthy.
11. We don’t need to eat all that much.
Not entirely sure but what has become apparent to me is that the average westerner (I’m from NY, btw) has no idea that they can get by just fine on substantially less food than they think they can.
They’re just not used to it.
10. We need time to prepare our meals.
Yup my epi professor said that the number one thing to contribute is the drive thru window because of how busy everyone is.
If it wasn’t a thing most people would have more groceries at home or meals precooked etc. which like you said can be difficult
9. Read the labels.
Serving sizes just aren’t a thing to people who aren’t paying attention. Just fill up the plate! Get seconds if it’s tasty.
I’ve noticed that when people get a normal size portion at a restaurant here, they usually have a fit. Meanwhile, enormous portions are praised in the reviews.
Everyone is saying “fast food”, but a lot of fast food isn’t that terribly calorie-dense until you pair it with a large fries and a large coke and a pie. It’s not the food itself (though it is definitely not nearly as healthy as home cooked food), but the portions of it.
8. The healthy food costs more.
On top of that, healthy food is often expensive. Subsidize fruits and make crisps more expensive so poor people can afford more healthy stuff, and people will be more healthy.
Next, cities are laid out for cars only. Build and redesign them to be nice to bike and walk in and people are more likely to do so and be more healthy.
7. It’s ok to be hungry.
People should really learn that feeling hunger doesn’t mean “I HAVE TO EAT RIGHT THE F**K NOW!”
Hard to do when they grew up in a house stuffed with snacks and food and every time they felt the slightest bit of hunger they immediately ate something.
Normal hunger isn’t a “CRITICAL PRIORITY ALPHA-1 EMERGENCY ALERT!”. It’s just a “Notification: Stomach contents successfully sent to guts for processing”.
But many people have never gotten past this point so their brain thinks it’s the “STARVING TO DEATH” alarm.
6. Good luck with that.
Processed food standards need to change. Less sugar and salt. Stop making sodas so cheap. The real cost of sugary soda is the health problems we have. Fast food needs to have options that taste good.
Stop advertising fast food like they stopped advertising cigarettes.
5. Don’t eat until you’re stuffed.
My family came from other countries, so are used to eating smaller sized meals. Therefore cooked me regular normal sized meals. My partner, who’s family is wholly American, grew up eating much larger portions.
He has always eaten until stuffed, while I have always eaten until satiated, but not stuffed. He is learning and I’m proud!! I want him to be healthy and live for forever with me, but that’s hard when you don’t portion control.
4. A bold move.
Stop subsidizing corn.
This is literally the biggest move the government could make. They wouldn’t even need to eliminate every corn subsidy (though they should); they could just make any corn which has an end product intended for human consumption and/or that is human grade ineligible for subsidy.
The US has the highest per-capita consumption of HFC of any country. It is sweeter and more addictive than sugar. Even if HFC is not objectively worse than the same amount of sugar, the issue is that HFC is so cheap to make that it gets put in everything, specifically so that people get addicted.
There’s a reason so many Europeans say American candy is sickeningly, offputtingly sweet. If we stopped subsidizing HFC, it would likely lower its overwhelming presence in our foods, which could help our obesity rates.
3. Don’t force your kids to clean their plate.
Yeah. People literally train their kids to not understand when they are full by enforcing “clean plate club,” then plonk down adult sized portions in front of them. They act like not force feeding their children until they’re sick is some kind of trick. If you don’t pork yourself full at every opportunity and lick the plate, people groan in concern that you’re “sick.”
I know people who get so frustrated that they can’t lose weight when they only eat healthy. “I eat baked salmon, brown rice, and steamed broccoli every night!” But fail to notice that it’s a heap of rice, a mountain of broccoli, and a full pound filet of fish. Just because food is nutritious does not mean it has zero calories and you can eat an infinite amount and still lose weight.
There are systemic problems with this too. You can’t get food from a restaurant without being served a mountain, and generally, people will comment if you don’t eat the bulk of it.
2. So many things we could do.
There are probably at least a dozen things that would help. One that comes to mind is investing more substantially in public infrastructure toward the objective of making more places ‘walkable’ would be a step in the right direction.
Better public transport, more parks and open spaces, better bike paths, better walking paths (including more trees planted for shade) and just city beautification in general that encourages people to want to get out and move around more.
The more walkable cities in the world tend to also have lower levels of obesity and again, there are a lot of factors here, this is just one thing, but it’s still a thing, and the thing about it is that it is so lateral to the problem that people get encouraged to do it (be more active) basically without even realizing it, it becomes a consequence of enjoying their area more.
1. That would be a big change.
Build/redesign neighborhoods and public spaces to be more accessible for walking and bike riding.
Terrible city zoning is the cause of sooooooo many problems.
I mean, we have to start somewhere, right?
If you have an idea we didn’t mention, drop it in the comments!