Archive for May, 2007

ADD and Obesity

May 23, 2007

Although I am VERY ashamed to admit, I was watching Fox this afternoon…and the news came on. I was in the middle of making lunch, so I decided to listen to the plethora (great word) of barely-news stories that filled the hour. However, one story really did catch my attention. Some doctors have begun to prescribe Adderall, a drug used to treat ADD and ADHD, to severely overweight children.

My little sister actually uses Adderall for her ADD, so I’m pretty familiar with its effects. She was always somewhat of a pudgy girl, never fat, but had a good amount of meat on her. Within a month of taking Adderall, she looked entirely different. Her eating habits changed completely in that she consumed much less in a day than she had before. Every morning my parents have to make sure she eats breakfast before taking her pills. She does not eat much for lunch during the day because of her decrease in appetite and has just a small snack when she gets home from school. However, by dinner time, the medication has worn off, and she eats a great deal. All this has changed her body type; she is now very slim and slender.

To me, the prescription of ADD medication to help overweight children is worthy of a substantial amount judgment and criticism. America is currently one of the most overweight countries in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. We absolutely love the taste and convenience of fast food. We have jobs that sit us in front of computers for 8 hours a day. Preservatives, saturated fats, and calories are packed into the foods we call “American”. We are a country that craves speed and efficiency, and healthy meals usually take time and effort. We adore chips, chocolate, and all sorts of candy in large quantities. And deep-frying? Don’t hesitate; throw those fries in that grease! Our portions are massive in comparison with those of other countries.

Older generations are instilling these bad eating and exercise habits on their children. Kids sit in front of televisions and computers, snaking on junk. For dinner, busy parents swing by McDonalds for a Happy Meal and Coke. School lunch programs often offer large quantities of deep fried foods as well as vending machines loaded with fat-adding, artery-clogging goodness.

So, how do we correct this obesity disease in our children? Give them ADD medication! Suppress their appetites! Don’t teach them about the health problems of being overweight, but threaten them with the aesthetic consequences! Let’s not discuss nutrition, healthy hearts, or active bodies; just make ’em eat less. And the best, and of course, easiest way to do this is by popping a pill once a day. Mom and dad don’t have to do any extra work except for remembering to refill the prescription every month.

Moms and dads need to wake up! Take the extra time to scramble an egg and peel a banana for breakfast. For lunch, a turkey sandwich on wheat bread accompanied by carrot sticks and celery would be great. Include yogurt and a small piece of candy. For dinner, toss a salad; steam some broccoli; bake a ham; cook some rolls, and have a small bowl of ice cream for desert. Take a multi-vitamin every morning; drink 80z of V8 (8 oz. contain one serving of fruits/vegetables for the day, and there are a ton of flavors to choose from); walk to the park on weekends; sign kids up for the peewee sport of his or her choice. Make the effort to establish a healthy life for your kids. Teach them that exercise builds a strong heart (and actually, studies are being done that show that regular cardio exercise increases your brain’s ability to absorb and retain new information, as well as fight Alzheimer’s). Let them know that it’s okay to have snacks, but they have to be eaten responsibly.

Good life habits begin right away. When your kid is in 6th grade and weighs almost 200lbs., you have not done something right as a parent, and it is absolutely irresponsible to turn to medication for attention deficit disorder in order to correct the errors you have made. What does this teach our children? Pills can cure anything with little or no effort. Eating healthy and exercising regularly isn’t really required to be thin and look great, so why bother?

When it comes to bettering ourselves and our lives, we all too often take the easy way out, and I am truly tired of it.

Parents: live up to your responsibilities of guiding your children toward healthy life styles, and help them now so that they do not face diabetes, heart failure, clogged arteries, and severe hardships in the future.

Effort and hard work go a very long way, and for some reason, we Americans seem to have forgotten all about that.


Zero Tolerance for Compromise

May 20, 2007

This post has been inspired by the resignation of Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank and the frenzy to name a new person to the position.

For those who may not know, the World Bank is an international organization that offers low-interest loans and aid to poor countries that use the bank as a last resort. Wealthier nations pump millions into the World Bank, and thus, have a great deal of interest in what is done with the funds. For about 60 years, the United States has taken on the role of appointing the president of the World Bank, obviously giving us a ton of influence over how the billions of dollars are handled. This in turn bestows us with a great deal of power. However, after a scandal arose regarding Paul Wolfowitz who is facing allegations that he has given a promotion and large pay increase to a mistress of his, the U.S. is fighting for its ability to name the new president.

Wolfowitz’s appointment by President Bush was something that many nations objected to. He was key in planning and implementing the war in Iraq, and a lot of European leaders saw him as a symbol of America’s arrogance (Washington Post).

While some nations agree that the United States should maintain its control on appointing a World Bank president, others feel a multi-nation merit-based process should be the determining factor. President Bush, of course, is vehement in choosing a successor to Wolfowitz. And this is where my commentary comes in.

For the past five years, President Bush has displayed an absolute unwillingness to compromise. The United States is at a new low in international relations. We are no longer a beacon to the world that presents a model for democracy, diplomacy, ingenuity, and compassion. We have become, in many respects, a nation that repels change and understanding. We are no longer at the forefront of innovation. In my opinion, President Bush’s staunch, right-wing, no bargaining attitude has helped a great deal in putting us in this place.

Friends are hard to come by for the United States nowadays. We are seen as haughty and arrogant. We are viewed as selfish, boisterous, and hard-hearted. We are not respected as a nation of dignity and honor.

While I do understand the necessity for a tough leader, someone who is firm and resolute in his or her beliefs and convictions, I also recognize the need for compromise and discussion. President Bush is resolute in appointing a new president of the World Bank. In order to hold the respect of other nations, he could certainly allow other world leaders to help in the selection of this president, while still choosing someone from the U.S. It would not be difficult to find a very qualified leader of the World Bank from this great country of ours.

I’m starting to get sleepy now, so I’m sure this blog has turned into something a lot like an incoherent ramble, but my point is, we have GOT to learn to compromise. We have GOT to learn how to give a little and take a little. The U.S. cannot afford to lose anymore allies, and we cannot afford to sacrifice anymore of our dignity and honor. Our pride, self-interest, and bull-headedness will be our downfall, and if we cannot learn to respect the various interests of the countless other countries with which we negotiate, we are going to be in a lot of trouble. I am by no means saying that the United States should not look out for its own interests, but we need to figure out a way to do that, while still valuing the positions of those other countries.