The topic was "The Paradox of Affluence". After we got the topic, we had to choose a photo that showed this topic and write a 200 word essay. It was challenging to choose what to write about, find a picture that showed that, and then say it in only 200 words!
We live in a society of instant gratification. We want everything we buy to be as fast as possible. High speed internet, high-performance vehicles, and instant messages are part of our daily lives. Ironically, despite our need for speed, many of these technological advances also come with a sedentary lifestyle.
For about one third of America, these fast paced ideals also apply to our diets. For many of us, going out to dinner no longer entails sitting in a restaurant, but rather driving through one. We don’t even have to get out of our cars anymore. And, if getting out of the house is a problem, we can always have the food delivered right to our doorsteps.
America is one of the richest and most progressive countries in the world, yet we are the most unhealthy and obese. We spend billions of dollars every year on diets and weight loss cures, most of which don’t work. Think of all the money Americans would save if they just started walking and eating better. Think of all the people who are starving in our country who could be fed with that money. It is a sad reality of where our nation’s affluence has taken us, and where it is taking our children.
Childhood obesity has tripled over the last thirty years.1 This affliction can lead to a myriad of diseases that our children never had to deal with before, such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Our kids no longer ride their bikes after school, but rather sit and play video games. Sadly, we have yet to realize the full impact of childhood obesity, and until we do our children will continue to suffer. Their generation could be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Healthy eating habits begin in childhood, and it is imperative that we educate our children about proper nutrition and active lifestyles. We need to become the example we want them to follow.