Sunday, September 26, 2010

Unhealthy American Appetites

Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred. -Proverbs 15:17

I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it. -cartoon caption, The New Yorker 1928

The nation's body and mind are moving in sync as Americans reject Michelle Obama's campaign to eat more vegetables even as they disdain her husband's recipe for a healthier polity.

More and more, taste buds and brain cells are responding less and less to subtleties. As the President's approval ratings hit a new low, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows Americans eating far less fruit and vegetables than a healthy diet requires, little more than they did a decade ago despite all efforts at public education.

In the population, women, older people and those with higher incomes tend to consume more vegetables, according to the CDC report, but overall the nation is eating no better than it's thinking, judging from recent election results that show a growing taste for political red meat and fiery spice.

If eating habits seem a shaky metaphor for state of mind, consider the Republicans' new "Pledge to America," a dish of reheated pablum from political hacks caught between the Democrats' diet of delayed gratification and the Tea Party's buffet of political junk food.

The dilemma is nothing new. Back in the good old days of the last century, the Reagan Administration tried to pass off ketchup as a vegetable for school lunches and George Bush I bravely announced, "I do not like broccoli and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli."

A food marketer sums up the meaning of the CDC study, “Eating vegetables is a lot less fun than eating flavor-blasted Doritos."

Just so, but if there's any truth to the old saw, "You are what you eat," the new century is not looking good for a healthy America.

1 comment:

hking said...