Inactivity is a truly silent killer. Too many Americans, and others in the developed world, simply do not move enough to maintain minimal standards of health. There are many culprits, and no doubt the easiest one pundits will blame is probably video games. I take issue with that, however. In the 19th century politicians and social critics railed against the evils of too much reading; it will make you act out, unable to distinguish fantasy from reality, and make you lazy sitting around for hours every day. In the 20th century it was television. Now it’s video games. Every new mode of entertainment frightens, distresses, and annoys those too old to understand it. If it didn’t annoy the older generation, it probably wouldn’t be popular in the first place. Regardless, these excuses don’t hold water. Individuals can abuse anything, but the fact is we have created a society that does not privilege physical activity unless you happen to be physically gifted to begin with. Gym is usually one of the first things eliminated from budget strapped schools, right after the arts, rather than raise taxes in order to be able to continue offering these vital programs. No one wants their taxes raised, but then decry when their services are cut. Why do so many of us insist on believing in the magical free ride? Worried about corruption and waste? Grow up! it exists in every human endeavor. It exists in your own homes ever time a husband or wife holds back a little extra from a paycheck, or a child keeps the change when the are sent out on an errand, or a freaking credit card is used for any reason! If you can’t escape waste, fraud, and corruption in your own home, what magical world do you live in that allows you to believe it won’t exist in the public sector? Get over it. Put your money where it belongs, into the future for your children, and that future should include you living long and healthy enough to play with your grandchildren.
So now that I’ve given you my two cents, read this article published in the prestigious Lancet.