- Jan 24, 2009
- 2013 Hyundai Elantra GLS
I do think a lot of Americans are overweight because we are the most car oriented culture and it leads to a chain like this. We have the sprawling cities leading to many people having long commute times, they don't have as much time on either the morning end or night end to eat properly (buying fast food, freezer food, easy prepare food) eating stuff that is packed with preservatives, salt, and high fructose corn syrup. There are millions of other reasons but this I believe to be a key one.
There's a lot of truth to the geography and car links. In addition to spending time commuting, living in a spread out suburbia means it's nearly impossible to walk anywhere. It's more than 3 miles from my home to the nearest grocery store, 5 to a dedicated produce market, and there are no sidewalks or even road shoulders. I can't simply slip on my sneakers and wander down for some fresh vegetables for dinner (nor can I walk to a pub, restaurant, or store of any kind). That means I need to plan a trip. Since this 2 mile trip takes an average of 15 minutes (yes really) each way and is out of my way I'm not going every day. That means I am buying in bulk, to last me several days or even a week. Fresh food doesn't last a week so I'm buying some fresh and some preserved.
So I'm not getting any real "consequential" exercise since I can't walk/cycle to work, or the store, the pub, or a friend's house. I have to set out special time to say "and now I will exercise." Since there aren't sidewalks in my neighborhood I have to GO somewhere even to walk. I have a car so going somewhere isn't difficult at all, but it is one more "thing to do" in life and psychologically that always means it can get pushed back, even if it shouldn't.
I would point out that I live in a fairly new city (even by US standards). When I was living in an old city in VA town was very different. I could, and did, walk into the local business district. I walked to work, the grocery, the pharmacy, little stores, and even to synagogue. I have gained considerable weight since leaving this town but there are other factors in this as well (stressful job, loosing one grandmother the other grandmother having open heart surgery, dad diagnosed with bad cancer, etc).