Get outdoors and shape up

There's been a pile of media coverage lately (meaning the past year or so) about America, as a society, being overweight, obese even. Well-meaning do-gooders have been beating the drum about Americans' terrible dietary habits – too heavy on the saturated fats and sugar, and not enough lean meat, fish, vegetables and fruits. I'm no dietician, but I do have a pretty good memory and observation abilities.

I vividly recall that my grandparents weren't overweight, nor were my parents and siblings. Being farmers, they ate three square meals a day, some of which would be considered artery-cloggers by today's standards. Eggs and bacon or ham for breakfast, along with maybe some pancakes, the previous night's supper leftovers (if there were any) for lunch, and then a big meal of meat, potatoes, gravy, vegetables and such for supper. And lots of butter and whole fresh milk and cream. Why, they even used lard and Crisco in their baking. So how could it be that they were so healthy? Maybe strenuous work, exercise and lots of outdoor air had a little to do with it.

Now, I'm not disputing the fact that lousy eating habits aren't detrimental, but what I am gradually concluding is that we Americans no longer burn up at least the same amount of calories we consume each day. Putting in a 14-hour day working or playing hard outdoors is a far cry from putting in 8-10 sitting at a desk or on a production line indoors. Yes, you may be tired from it, but I seriously doubt your body has torched off the thousands of the calories you ingested over 24 hours.

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