Tuesday, May 28, 2013

People are upset about the wrong things

In 2006 the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, Mike Jeffries, made some inflammatory statements about who should be wearing the "exclusive" clothes his company sells. I find this interesting in part because by "exclusive" he meant, "sold in every single mall around the globe".

For whatever reason, these statements have recently hit the news again.

People are upset about this.

Then, Business Insider reported that Abercrombie refuses to make large-sized clothing.

People are really upset about this.

My take on it is that it's Abercrombie's prerogative... If you design the clothes, market, label and sell the clothes, you get to pick the sizes. And, after all, as one blogger pointed out, "if Abercrombie chooses not to make large sizes, this means that 60% of Americans are excluded from shopping in their stores". Simple math:  Eventually they'll have to sell larger clothing or go out of business.

Upon reading that I thought, 60%? What? No way. That seems insane. A quick trip to the CDC website should clear this right up.

My stomach flipped as I read the stats. Sixty percent is just about right. 
That's when I realized:
People are upset about the wrong thing.

According to the CDC, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. The official 2010 number is 35.7%. This number encompasses "over the age of 20".

I can see how once an individual reaches adulthood obese, or reaches obesity by the numbers in adulthood that getting the weight off would be a real challenge. I mean, I couldn't shed the weight stuck to me, so I called in some big guns when I saw a Physician, an OB/GYN, and eventually a Dietitian, and I'm only trying to knock back a total of 14.7 pounds. It's 10% of my body weight though.

What would it be like to be trying to lose half my body weight? So I'll give some lee way on this whole statistic. Once obese, hard to repair.


Obesity should be preventible. Right?

Well, in theory, it is.

The statistic that made my stomach clench and a wave of nausea roll over me was also found on the CDC site.  "The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period". CDC

6 year olds? Seriously? I have one of those.
11... I have one of those also.

And, wait, adolescents? Isn't that the Abercrombie market?

In 2003 data was collected on high school students obesity rates. The data is scattered, because they were targeting 'at risk' populations.

By 2011 the data is less scattered. I would guess this is because by now the "at risk" population has been expanded to include more schools.

So, after looking here at this very simplified data I have to wonder, why are people upset that Abercrombie & Fitch is going to go out of business? Why aren't we panicked about the fate of our children? Or our children's peers? It's mind numbing to me.

People are upset about the wrong thing. 

Now, that's not to say people aren't upset about the growing size of Americans. I see things about it all the time.

"The government should DO something!" people shout in outraged articles and blog posts that pepper the Internet.

No people.
Sorry for sharing my opinion if it offends you, but NO!

It's NOT the government's responsibility. I would personally love if the government stepped out of food politics. ALL food politics. The government is already elbow deep in policy that is harmful to the American Food "system". And yes, I found something accessible to back that statement. (an article in a little known publication called The Wall Street Journal).

When people lay the responsibility at The Government's feet, they remove their own accountability. Furthermore, they lose their sense of empowerment to adopt lifestyle changes that will positively affect their health. They blame school lunches instead of their McLifestyle.

I know, I know.

Mind my own business. Raise my children. Feed them as I choose too. Hell, give them cake for breakfast, let them top their own salads. It's my choice. and let people be upset about Abercrombie's business forecast as much as they want. At this point, I think it's pretty obvious though...

People are upset about the wrong thing. 


Michele said...

Go to Hulu and watch "Fat Head." I found the documentary interesting. My preface would be that I did NOT agree with everything being presented, but some of the ideas really made me think about some of the same things you mentioned here. No one MAKES us eat the things we eat. One thing the documentary did bring up is that the CDC claims that a certain % of people are obese, but what you don't always see is that some body builders or very athletic people would be considered obese on the scale they use.... just food for thought.... or diet food for thought! Whatever you prefer!!! Great post!!!

Michelle said...

Having always battled my weight, this is a subject near to my heart. Having a son who is following in my footsteps, I resounds even louder. Weight is a choice and how you monitor, control, & lose it. But, America makes bad calories cheap and hard to resist. The statistics are shocking and more people should pay attention to them.

gba_gf @ Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner said...

True Michele on the Run - there is probably a very small percentage of a percentage point of folks included in that CDC number who don't belong there...

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

If you watch Weight of the Nation that was on HBO it gives a clearer vision of why the nation is the way it is. The part on children was very scary.

Mommy doctor said...

This is the FIRST time in history that children are expected to have a SHORTER life expectancy than their parents. It is due to obesity.

Mommy doctor said...

This is the FIRST time in history that children are expected to have a SHORTER life expectancy than their parents. It is due to obesity.

Marnee A said...

preach it sista!

Melissa Cunningham said...