At some point, I’d like to do at least a mini-review of the movie Wall-E. I took the kids to see it last week, and found it to be excellent. In addition, there were at least two important lessons to be learned from watching the movie, one of which was (to put it simply), “Exercise!”
Now, I’m simplifying the plot a bit, but without giving much away for those who have it yet seen it, Earthlings of the future are portrayed as obese/immobile as a result of our dependence upon technology to do every last thing for us. In discussing this theme with my 6-year-old, we talked about the importance of regular exercise in order to be healthy. The movie’s visual portrayal of the impact of a lifestyle without exercise made this discussion easy, which I appreciated. Of course, the single best way for me to instill a sense of the importance of exercise in my children is to continue exercising myself.
What does this have to do with anything? Well, according to this article, researchers are projecting in that up to 86% of Americans could be overweight or obese by the year 2030. The article focuses primarily on the healthcare costs associated with the increase in weight, as well as the very real costs to the health of future generations. It is even suggested that average life expectancy may begin to trend downward should this pattern continue.
While I certainly agree that the increase in the number of Americans were overweight/obese is alarming, I wonder if the trend will hold. I would imagine that heavier people will become even heavier, but I wonder if at some point, the percentage of individuals who are overweight will level off. In other words, I suspect at some point we will see a bimodal distribution of weight; two groups of people, one fit and the other overweight. Over time, the averages of these two groups will separate further and further, but there will be a group that will maintain an adequate level of fitness regardless of other trends. I have no idea at what point the trend with level off, but I see no reason to believe that individuals who currently take their health seriously would not continue to do so in the future. However, I’m just speaking off of the top of my head. I tend to see Americans as increasingly becoming divided into two groups along a wide variety of different variables, based on choices and behaviors. The number of individuals who are making poor choices in terms of unhealthy behaviors (regardless of reason for the choice) appear, as a group, to be growing, but I don’t see this is a trend that can continue until all people fall into that category. What I hope will occur is that at some point, people who make poor decisions will increasingly be provided with the means to make better decisions in a self-actualized manner. I dislike the idea of writing people off, and I dislike the idea of care-taking. I want to see people making the best decisions they are capable of, then dealing with the consequences. Now, how we get to that point...