Letters to the Editor

Sunday, Jan 08 2012 11:01 PM

Culprit in obesity: poor choices, not business

By The Bakersfield Californian

The new year always brings resolutions; the most common ones are usually about health and diet. Back in November, The Californian published an editorial decrying Kern County's high rate of childhood obesity ("Another way to fight obesity: city planning," Nov. 11). It concluded that the causes of childhood obesity were poverty and lack of access to healthy food with fast-food restaurants being the main culprit.

Call me old-fashioned, but when I was in elementary school, we didn't have this problem. We were just as poor then as the poor today, but parents packed lunches or bought affordable tickets for school lunches that were reasonably nutritious and not imported from fast-food restaurants.

The only vending machines on campus were in the teachers' lounge, unavailable to students. We had adequate recess and PE periods. We walked to and from school because our society wasn't so paranoid and cars weren't so plentiful.

When we got home, we had homework, but not so much that our parent(s) couldn't say, "Go outside and play until dinner is ready!" And they fixed dinner, rather than saying "Go watch TV or play video games while I go pick up dinner."

As for fast-food places, yes, they are plentiful, but most offer healthy choices for those with self-discipline enough to make them. As with most things now blamed on fringe third parties, the biggest blame for childhood obesity is poor choices and/or poor habits, not greedy, deep-pocket corporations.

Tim Stormont

Bakersfield

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