I randomly came across this news item earlier today: The Fattest Place on Earth. Nauru, population 14.000 has the highest obesity and diabetes rates in the world. ABC News decided it might set a valuable example for the fattening population of the USofA -an most of the western world. According to the ABC 95% population in the island are overweight and 80% of the male population are clinically obese. 50% of the population suffers type II diabetes. The message is simple enough: processed food will kill you if you only feed on it. Big news, right? Now, can we just blame the food for this obesity pandemics? I'm sure a sedentary lifestyle doesn't help, and the reporter notes that the Government of the little Republic is in fact trying to encourage its population to be physically active sponsoring free aerobic lessons. Unfortunately, due to a fuel shortage, attendance is low. Wow. That is a shocker. The Island is 10 times smaller than Amsterdam. Cycling at 15 km/h, it would take you less than 2 hours to go around the whole island. Yet, you only see two -and a half- bikes through the whole video. The reporter openly questions the food, but not the car culture that somehow makes it impossible for people to go to an aerobic lesson in a tiny island due to a fuel sortage. In fact, the first thing he does is drive around the island using the only paved road available. It takes him 17 minutes to cruise its 24 km. How come walking and cycling to places is not an option in such a small place? Western civilisation has created a good number of evils, junk food is no doubt one of them, but the sedentary lifestyle associated to it is playing a big a role in the obesity pandemic. If we are going to go around pointing fingers and trying to educate the audience into a healthier lifestyle, maybe we could start with car culture. <img data-cke-saved-src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2623/3941750997_4caa23e62a_z.jpg" src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2623/3941750997_4caa23e62a_z.jpg" width="600" height="450 alt=" super="" dad"="">
Let's question the logic that linked car ownership and progress, that brought the sprawl and multiple car lane streets inside cities. Let's question the need -or even the point- of counting calories and driving to the gym. Maybe there is an easier solution: ride a bike, walk to places and eat sensibly. Stay active.
Just for reference, obesity rate in The Netherlands is at 10%. But of course, this doen't mean that everyone you'll see around looks like Barbie or Ken, that's just silly, isn't it?