“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fat, Dumb, and Happy (or unhealthy, uneducated, and oblivious)!

The census recently published the latest issue of the Statistical Abstract of The United States

Fat dumb and happy is what we are; this statistical abstract tells the story quickly and substitutes evidence for speculation.

We are ranked 24th out of 30 countries in life expectancy, and we are the most obese of all the countries surveyed. Fat equals health-care problems, and that is expensive to treat (so it should be no surprise that our health bill is going to break the bank). The United States is one of the only countries where people in their 20s are not taller than people in their 40s! That is one of the greatest indicators of lousy nutrition. School lunches, fast food doled out by overworked parents and a proliferation of processed foods at your local grocer perpetuates this unhealthy cycle. Coincidence?
We also rank highest in lifetime prevalence of mental illness. We take the lead in all of the mental problems – anxiety, mood, substance abuse and impulse control, which has spawned a healthy industry (pun intended) trying to combat these disorders and their corollary addictions.
Only 58 percent of our 3 to 5-year-olds are enrolled in formal preschool programs while Mexican children have a preschool enrollment of 70 percent! France and Spain have a 100 percent and 98 percent preschool enrollment respectively. Knowing what we know now about brain development, it is essential that young people develop neural pathways in the brain so they can learn more complex concepts in later years. How can we possibly compete with countries that are teaching reading readiness while our children are watching television as their parents are working extra hours?
We have become a nation way too comfortable (read lazy) and satisfied with ourselves and the status quo. A nation of debtors – really slaves, because the hand that lends is always above the hand that borrows – that is all too relaxed as we finance our own demise in order to maintain airs.

President Obama’s recent speech discussed fear and the goal of American’s to deal with our fear by shaping the future. But I argue that instead of fear, a more accurate descriptor of the current American sentiment would be apathy. Some of the data I saw points to a very real need to start caring and be as industrious as we were in the years after World War II.
Maybe we don't care enough because we're too overworked. Twenty-five countries were measured in regard to hours worked per year. The United States was first with 301 hours more than average, which equates to more than seven weeks of additional work. Do you think this is a coincidence? We’re always working, yes, but for what? To feed The Man and His Machine, of course. We’re working to sustain a lifestyle that’s borrowed, that’s fake. And chew on this: that also comes out to seven weeks of work that parents don’t get to spend raising their children, which translates into less time cooking nutritious meals, reading to children and helping with homework. And speaking of our children and their education, anyone care to discuss those numbers? Abysmal. Again, I ask: Coincidence?
We are also near the top in terms of income level, yet too many Americans live in poverty. We aren’t in the category of the Sudan/Darfur type of poverty, but in Western World terms, it is poverty. Poverty is defined as less than half of the household median income. A poor household in the United States has an income 38 percent below the poverty line.
Along with health care reform, we need lifestyle reform, and we need it badly. Indeed, American society needs to change at all levels – as individuals, families and communities. Stay focused, and Be Opulent.

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