In his article, Kentucky Town of Manchester Illustrates National Obesity Crisis, Wil Haygood talks about the obesity problem among the people of Manchester Kentucky. Haygood observes that Manchester is one of the unhealthiest places in Kentucky. However, the people of Manchester are far from eager to discuss or even acknowledge this problem. Haygood places much of the blame for the obesity problem on the local people being uneducated about the risks being obese can pose to their health, an abundance of fast food restaurants, and a lack of recreational venues. I believe that Haygood made many good and accurate observations in his article, because being from a small town similar to, and not very far from Manchester, I share many of his concerns for the people in my community. One concern Haygood and I have observed in these small towns is a lack of recreational venues. The lack of recreational venues seems to directly affect obesity among children in small towns. It appears that in today’s society with a lack of recreational venues children are retreating inside their homes where they, sit in front of the television, computer, or video games for hours on end. While these activities are keeping them entertained, they require little to no physical activity. While most may wonder why not just visit a neighboring town that has some kind of recreational venues, lack of resources whether it be time, or most often lack of money prevents many families from traveling even a short distance. With many small town families stretching their resources comes the clean your plate mentality. Food costs money that is commonly scarce in small communities, and people simply do not want to see their resources go to waste.
Children are often instructed to clean their plate when sitting down for a meal, even if they may already be full. The risks this may have to the health and well-being of these children are often not considered. This lack of consideration is not that the parents or caregivers don’t care, but they simply are not aware that this could be negatively affecting their children’s health. Being unaware of the health risks associated with obesity seems to be a common theme among the people of small towns. Many don’t realize how their quality of life would increase by watching what they eat, limiting what they eat, getting more exercise, and losing weight. Some even believe that their health issues and weight problems are purely genetic issues.
While genetics may play a very small part, there are measures that can be taken to maintain a healthy weight and minimize health issues. While weight and obesity may be an uncomfortable subject to approach with people, at some point it has to be done. People need to be more educated about what they are doing to themselves and their children, and what they can do to prevent the health risks associated with being overweight or obese. Adults and children alike in these small communities should be better educated about the health risks involved with not getting enough exercise, and eating even when they are full. Obesity is a problem that can be almost eliminated simply by people being better educated.