By Ned Hickson
Like many of you, I'll never forget where I was when I heard the shocking news that obesity had officially become the No. 1 preventable health crisis in the nation. In fact, I can even tell you which super-sized meal I was eating. The truth is, it's time for us Americans to make some drastic changes in our eating habits before the unthinkable happens, and we're forced to apologize to the French for throwing the earth off its axis.
With that in mind, we scheduled a Q&A session with the Surgeon General to explain how we got so fat, and what we can do to reverse this trend so that Americans can get back to living a normal, healthy lifestyle cut short by smoking and drinking.
Q: How did we get so fat?
SG: Thousands of years ago, man scavenged for food and lived in dirty enclosures littered with bones and debris -- a way of life that can still be observed in many college dorms. The difference was, in prehistoric times, "fast food" was something hairy travelling on all fours. While there are plenty of campus refrigerators filled with hairy food items, in most cases it has stopped moving by the time it's eaten. Because of this, early man had the distinct health advantage of burning fat in order to obtain food, compared to what many college students burn, which is generally a large Papa Murphy's pizza.
Q: Then why do so many college students look so trim?
SG: Because their metabolism is still very high. This allows them to continue their bad eating habits without consequence until around age 30, when their metabolism suddenly kicks into reverse and, without warning, starts sucking up fat like an industrial shop-vac.
Q: What can we do to break this unhealthy cycle?
SG: The problem is that food has become too convenient. It wasn't long ago that Americans were a trim people undaunted by the idea of actually walking into a fast food restaurant and standing in line before being fed. Now, drive-up windows hand us food sacks roughly the size of a Navy sea bag, which we plant between the seats of our oversized SUVs. To break the cycle we must return to our hunter-gatherer roots. How?
Q: Hey, that's my line.
Q: How do we return to our hunter-gatherer roots?
SG: We must make our fast food purchases a life-or-death situation by forcing consumers to fight a mountain lion...
Q: A mountain lion?!
SG: Just a small one.
Q: I'm not sure about that idea.
SG: Please keep your comments in the form of a question.
Q: Fine: Are you nuts?!
SG: Hey, each year more Americans are injured by Stairmasters than by mountain lions.
Q: (pause) Do you happen to be dieting right now?
SG: Sorry... I was hoping it wouldn't be that obvious
You can write to Ned Hickson at:
The Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.