Why Are Americans Obsessed with Health and Still Fat?

I really can’t stand checking more matrix elements and the last post got me thinking about this topic.

Americans are the fattest people on Earth, no contest.  We also seem to have an unhealthy obsession with health.  There is always a new diet or a new  food item or a new gimmicky appliance that will make you lean and fit.  Yet we pound down Doritos Locos tacos like nobody’s business.  What is with the paradox, or is it even a paradox?

I have two theories that are not mutually exclusive.  One is that society has bifurcated.  We have the health nuts that are predominantly white and upper-middle class.  On the other side we have our poor who seem to be the big drivers in our fattening obesity problem.  This, sadly, also means the problem is localized predominantly in America’s minorities.

As an amusing but pertinent anecdote, my sister, who works at Starbucks, told me about a video of a (now former) Starbucks employee where he expounds on the drinking habits of various minorities.   My sister says he has the right of it when says that African-Americans and Hispanics almost inexorably order frappucinos.  That is 430 calories for a medium size drink according to the interwebs and most of it is carbs with a bit of fat sprinkled in.  Of course, most of these people probably order a large and inevitably add more whipped cream (which is apparently free at Starbucks).  Either way you are drinking a large number of mostly empty calories and drinking your food is never a good way to satiate yourself.

Maybe we as a society that just never gets the results we want.  After all, the Baby Boomers are notoriously vain and at the busiest time of their lives.  This would explain all the snake oil being sold when cardio+weights+diet is like 90% of what you need to do.  There are no superfoods that will make you live longer or magically burn calories.  There is no easy path other than pushing the iron and getting your heart burning and restricting your calories.  Nutrition science is mostly full of shit.  Even things that we have “known” are bad for decades like saturated fats don’t appear to be bad if from the right sources.  So rather than grabbing for those acai berries maybe you should grab a dumbbell.

However,  I am mostly leaning toward the first option.  I primarily associate with the first group of health nuts.  Maybe outside this bubble health is not such a big deal.  It certainly would not be the first time this privileged group managed to delude itself that what they care about is what everyone cares about (which is not to say I am not carried along with them at time).  Poor people probably just want to eat and they see that you can get 400 calories at McDonald’s for a buck and they go at it.  They don’t have time or money to go to a gym.  Who needs to be healthy when as a black male you are  going to die at something like 66 on average anyway?

Still, I see a not-inconsiderate number of middle class folk that are working on some world class guts.  What is their excuse?


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