“Our country won’t go on forever. If we stay soft as we are now, there won’t be any America because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!” Lieut. Gen. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, United States Marine Corps.
What an indictment against the physical fitness of the people living in North America today. It’s not hard to see how he comes to his conclusion, all you have to do is go to the mall.
As labor saving gadgets became available, it “appears” that the North American society has become increasingly obese.
That is not necessarily the reason.
There are a number of factors at play:
1) Higher stress levels. You see back in the 1950s surveys were taken of thousands of people asking them what they envisioned life would be like 50 years from then. Nearly all of them indicated, because of technological advances, the work week would be reduced to 20 hours. People would have time for their families, recreation, and the pursuit of happiness.
2) Genetically modified foods. In the book “Wheat Belly: lose the wheat, lose the weight, and find your path back to health.” By William Davis, M.D., he illustrates how wheat has been genetically modified since the 70s to increased yield. Though the intent was good and noble, the effects on our physical well-being have been catastrophic. There are strains of gluten’s that our bodies are incapable of digesting. These new strains of wheat reportedly increase glucose levels in blood dramatically, along with the accompanying diseases.
3) Lack of physical exercise. When I went to school physical training and activities were commonplace both in and after school. In an attempt to reduce possible injuries to students and the accompanying lawsuits from their parents, many jurisdictions abandoned physical education. The side effect, a demotivated populace that effectively are immobile without machinery.
4) Television and video games. People no longer find it necessary to leave their homes for entertainment. “Reality shows”, cable, pay-per-view, and video games etc. have given rise to the species of human known as “couch potato”.
5) Automation. With the advent of moving walkways, escalators and elevators, the need to physically exert ourselves has been reduced significantly.
6) Motor vehicles. There was a time when cities were designed for foot traffic, with accommodations made for carts, wagons and buggies that were used primarily for transporting goods. Nowadays, subdivisions are designed around the automobile. People will jump in the car and drive one block to pick up a bottle of soda. While the use of bicycles are slowly gaining traction because cities are creating bicycle lanes to facilitate safer cycling, weather is still a factor in their use.
7) At the end of the day, perhaps the biggest consideration is the overall fatigue a person experiences after an 8 to 10 hour workday. There was a time one income was sufficient to maintain a middle class lifestyle. Today, some statistics indicate the average household income requires 70 hours of labor. This largely has to do with the plethora of taxes both hidden and open that are being extorted from the populace by governments who have forgotten they are our employees, not our masters.
Is there a solution?
There is an old saying: “When you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can always count on the support of Paul.”
That being said, until there is a change in attitudes towards accountability and responsibility, the population will continue to degrade physically until it either A) overwhelms and collapses the health care system or, B) Civil War, invasion or famine reduce the population. Without a safety net, those less equipped to care for themselves will perish.
We all have choices to make. Many of them will not be easy, as we have developed many habits that must change if we are to survive.