I remember as a child spending hours and hours riding my bike around the neighborhood, walking to my friend’s house to play, going to the park… The mode of transportation changed from day to day – feet to bike to skateboard – and the path was always the sidewalk.
I watched a documentary today, it was put out by HBO and it’s entitled, ‘The Weight of the Nation: Confronting America’s Obesity Epidemic’. I am begging you to watch it – you can see it on YouTube at no cost other than an hour of your time – well worth it!
It spoke to many issues but one that really struck me was that in many neighborhoods that exist now, there are no sidewalks…no parks…no play places for young children. The result of this is that they stay indoors in front of the television or computer or gaming console in lieu of playing outside with their friends.
Where are the sidewalks? They were taken away in favor of saving tax money in order to be spent on other things. Those that disagree with me – so be it – but my guess is that a lot of the money went to increase salaries of those who make the rules in the cities.
A big focus of this documentary is that those who are in charge of the largest and most powerful commodities – be it local governments, government subsidized farms or the fast food industry – are most interested in profit over the welfare of its people.
Children of the current day don’t play outside as much because, in many cities, there is simply no safe place to play. The lowest income areas are the areas which have the highest levels of childhood obesity and early onset chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The stores at which the poorest families shop do not offer fresh produce – they offer low cost, high calorie junk food – and that is what the children are being fed.
A fire has been lit in me today – it has dawned on me that changes to these problems will most certainly NOT be from the top down – they will come from grass roots efforts.
Again, please watch the documentary – it will give you a jolt and maybe you will join me in trying to make a difference somehow. For more information go to http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com/films.
One thing came out of this today – I think I have figured out what the purpose of my challenge truly is…to be bold and aggressive in becoming a part of the solution.
Let’s bring back the sidewalks and get those kids outside once more. That would be a great first step.