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No wonder we are an obese country
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A press release from the well intentioned folks at the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP) made me stop and say "Whoa there. Time out!"

The release announced a theatrical vignette production, "The Weight of Things: Four Theatrical Vignettes and a Song on Obesity" to be performed at a Fresno church.

I praise CCROPP in their mission to educate Valley residents about the importance of good nutrition. I believe in good nutrition and exercise but I take exception to some glaringly misguided concepts.

The PR piece calls obesity a "not-so-silent epidemic" that is sweeping the nation. Okay, I understand that two-thirds of all American adults are overweight or obese and it costs as much as $147 billion every year in related health issues. Childhood obesity has tripled in a generation. I understand that. I have a problem with them using the word "epidemic" in talking medical issues. I guess if you look at the definition as being "extremely prevalent; widespread" the word fits. If you use it to suggest obesity is somehow communicable like the flu, false.

Genoveva Islas-Hooker, regional program coordinator of CCROPP is quoted as saying "Obesity is a vast and complicated subject." She also states one of her jobs is to "transmit that information to my community into comprehensible pieces," hence the play.

Is obesity really so complicated most people can't understand it? Really? If you believe Islas-Hooker, most people really have no clue that one gets overweight by eating too much food, the wrong food and failing to burn enough calories in the daily regimen. I'm not buying that one for a second. After all, anyone who watches "Biggest Loser" on TV can see that losing weight involves not just a one-time fix but a lifelong lifestyle change. Sure, it's hard at first but once the lifestyle is changed, it becomes a new nature.

Of course, most people do know what causes obesity but are unwilling to modify lifestyle. It's too easy to not change a lifestyle and eating habits and no amount of theatrical production will put a dent in the problem. I suppose a play might motivate someone to buy running shoes or join an aerobic class, maybe bypass potato chips for celery or broccoli as snacks but most people aren't going to do that.

Our country is, well - forgive my bluntness - collectively fat and lazy. We're lazy about working out and being disciplined in eating foods that are good for us.

The same societal laziness has given rise in the political ideology behnd the Occupy Wall Street protest groups that seek to blame instead of shoulder responsibility. The protesters who wish to punish rich people for being successful clamor for their share of the piece of the pie that they did not earn. The protester who quit his job to camp out illegally in the park to protest Wall Street must have expected the government - you and I paying taxes - would take care of him through welfare. After all, the movement is couched in the believe that government has a right to seize monies from the successful and give it to those who didn't earn it themselves.

Protesters consider themselves "victims" in much the same way that the concept of victimization creeps into the CCROPP press release. I quote: "In the San Joaquin Valley, obesity has struck with such ferocity and disdain, bearing down hard on the Hispanic/Mexican population." Almost as if obesity was a monster that roamed the earth looking to and fro for a class of victims and saw an easy prey in the Mexican population.

Honestly, lard drenched Mexican foods loaded with cheese would be the last thing I'd be eating on a quest to be trim and healthy.

Reading further on I catch another hint of victimhood being propagated in this choice of words: That the CCROPP drama would focus on "the people who suffer the consequences of neglect, isolation and poverty."

Where is any mention of suffering the consequences of personal choice?

In years past, CCROPP has worked with the Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children to set up a farmer's market because of their insistence that many poor in Ceres had no access to healthy fruits and vegetables. In this land of plenty, that's an easy comment to ridicule. The government hands out EBT cards like candy, so, if the local mom and pop corner store doesn't sell produce, take the initiative to hop on the taxpayer subsidized transit system and ride to Richland or Save Mart or Cost Less where there is ample quantities of broccoli, Brussel sprouts, spinach, cauliflower and carrots. But it's easier to bellyache about more availability of Little Debby snacks at the corner store than to generate enough ambition to shop at a store with greater selection.

As is often the case, when someone is unwilling to do something for themselves, they want government to do it for them. Instead of allowing a person to choose between drinking a diet soda or tea at a vending machine, they demand that government intervene and take away choice of the soda. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. (There's a clue that the drama endorses a government ban on soda as they have included a song titled "Taps for Coke.").

I resent the left's control of my life to where they try to take away the rights of someone like me - who runs and maintains health body weight at 155 pounds - to enjoy a zero calorie Diet Coke.

The ugly truth is that as long as we have people who won't discipline themselves, we will have millions who will die of obesity-related heart and arterial disease and no amount of badgering (take a clue, Michele Obama) or government control or silly plays will do anything about it.