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How America's Children Packed on the Pounds

Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 01:13PM by Registered CommenterPennino Corp. CEO | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

Thursday, Jun. 12, 2008

How America's Children Packed On the Pounds

By Jeffrey Kluger

Americans disagree about a lot of things, but we rarely quarrel when it comes to our food. For a nation built on grand democratic virtues, there is still nothing that defines us quite like our love of chow time.

We have plenty of reasons to fetishize our food — not the least being that we've always had so much of it. Settlers fleeing the privations of the Old World landed in the new one and found themselves on a fat, juicy center cut of continent, big enough to baste its coasts in two different oceans. The prairies ran so dark with buffalo, you could practically net them like cod; the waters swam so thick with cod, you could bag them like slow-moving buffalo. The soil was the kind of rich stuff in which you could bury a brick and grow a house, and the pioneers grew plenty — fruits and vegetables and grains and gourds and legumes and tubers, in a variety and abundance they'd never seen before.

With all that, was it any wonder that when we had a chance to establish our first national holiday, it was Thanksgiving — a feast that doesn't merely accompany a celebration but in effect is the celebration? Is it any wonder that what might be our most evocative patriotic song is America the Beautiful, in which an ideal like brotherhood doesn't even get mentioned until the second-to-last line, well after rhapsodic references to waves of grain and fruited plains? "We've defined an American version of what it means to succeed," says neuroscientist Randy Seeley, associate director of the Obesity Research Center at the University of Cincinnati Medical School. "And a big part of that is access to an environment in which there is a lot of food to be consumed."

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