I played college baseball at West Virginia State University. I worked out and since I was young, my metabolism burned off all the late night junk food I consumed. I was 6’2″ and 198 pounds of “twisted steel and sex appeal”. Life was good. Then I moved to Mississippi for law school. I became sedentary. I was introduced to fried pickles, fried cheese (my God, they can fry cheese?!?!), fried everything. And desserts. After three (3) years of this lifestyle, I ballooned up to 230 pounds.
My story was apparently very common for a lot of Mississippians as we were named once again the Fattest State in the United States. You don’t have to spend too much time wondering about how this has happened. Simply look at all the signs proclaiming “ALL YOU CAN EAT” around the Jackson, Mississippi area. This is not a challenge people. You don’t have to really “eat all you can eat”. What’s next? Will restaurants install vomitoriums?
Obesity is a serious health issue. According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, obese people are more prone to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and certain types of cancers. How does this affect you if you are not even obese? Health care costs related to obesity was $117 billion in 2000! Half of this $117 billion was paid by taxpayers to those on public health insurance such as Medicare or Medicaid. So our money is being used to underwrite obesity health care. Private insurance companies must raise also raise premiums to pay for obesity health care costs.
But is eating junk food really bad for you? A few years back, actor Morgan Spurlock (a West Virginia native by the way like yours truly) did a film called “Super Size Me”. He ate at McDonald’s for 30 days breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He was required to “super size” his meal if he was asked to do so by a McDonald’s employee. At the end of 30 days, Spurlock gained 24½ lbs., a 13% body mass increase, a cholesterol level of 230, and experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and fat accumulation in his liver.
People have scoffed at the idea that we need laws to regulate junk food and denounced lawsuits aimed at doing the same thing. People cry that “hey, this is America and I can eat whatever I want!”. Yes, this is true. However, if I help pay your medical costs I should have a say in what goes into your belly pal.
So what do you think? Do we need laws or lawsuits to help prevent Americans from becoming obese?
Oh by the way, after I graduated law school and got married (somehow my wife saw through my fat and married me), I started working out again. I am proud to say that I am back to my college weight. My partner, Merrida Coxwell, has been a gym rat all his life and often takes credit for my re-dedication or “transformation”. To learn more about the Coxwell & Associates workout program, go to our website. (We don’t have one but you can read about how we help people in other ways). If you want to start getting healthy, check out Men’s Health.