So, the headline of this AP article is okay: “Europe plans free fruit, veggies for school kids.” Nothing wrong with that — in fact, I think it’s a swell idea. But you do know what’s coming next, right?
An estimated 22 million children in the 27-nation bloc of nearly 500 million people are overweight because of bad eating habits.
Right. So I guess the writer personally observed 22 million children to determine that their fatness is the result of “bad eating habits” — and indeed, that they’re actually fat, as opposed to just growing children whose BMI ranking could change substantially in two weeks’ time? ‘Cause otherwise, that sentence is ludicrous. Even a stone fatphobe with a modicum of journalistic integrity would write “… in part because of bad eating habits” — if nothing else, what about the ZOMG SEDENTARY VIDEO GAMES NEVER OUTSIDE factor? — or just end the sentence at “overweight” and allow people to draw their own conclusions. (Which, unfortunately, they totally would.) But no, 22 million children just have bad eating habits, period. True facts!
And it gets better. (The article’s like 200 words long, and still, it gets better.)
“You only have to walk down any high street in Europe to see the extent of the problems we face with overweight kids,” EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said.
Problems you can see just walking down the street? Like what? Roving bands of tubby little thugs demanding protection money from local businesses? Pillaging and plundering? Bursting out into elaborate musical numbers on busy streets? What are these great societal problems that are obvious to any pedestrian?
Oh, right. The very existence of fat kids is a problem.
Fuck you, Mariann Fischer Boel. Children’s bodies are not a problem for the government to solve.
And that’s inevitably my problem with programs like this, and the way they’re sold to us. I am 100% in favor of free fruits and veggies (though I’m not naive enough to think those won’t be traded for sweets by fat and thin kids alike, I should add). Free fruits and veggies for everyone! Local, organic produce for all my friends! While you’re at it, bring back gym class and train future phys ed instructors to focus on encouraging the joy of movement instead of forcing everyone to move their bodies in exactly the same way, regardless of any pain (physical and/or emotional) it causes! Subsidize exercise facilities until they’re affordable for everyone! Create more bike paths! Clean up local bodies of water so everyone can swim for free! Build cities on the scale of human bodies instead of cars, and keep the streets safe enough for everyone to walk around! Ban high fructose corn syrup! Keep fast food and soda and junk food corporations out of the schools! Raise the minimum wage and shorten working hours so people have more time to cook and be active! KNOCK YOURSELVES RIGHT THE FUCK OUT creating an environment that makes it easier for everyone to eat a variety of fresh foods and get plenty of exercise!
But don’t tell me that’s going to make everyone thin — and really, really don’t tell me that making people thinner should be the main point of such a plan. It fucking infuriates me that with all of the many, many excellent reasons to do all the things I’ve just suggested, the only potential outcome that can muster the political will to enact any of it is weight loss. Fuck having a cleaner, safer, more fun environment that might lend itself to people generally feeling more energetic and vibrant (which might also lead to more productivity, for all the hardcore capitalists out there) — unless we can get rid of the fatties, it’s wasted money.
Lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables is a problem to be solved. A polluted environment is a problem to be solved. Corporations weaseling their way into schools are a problem to be solved. Unsafe cities are a problem to be solved. Car-dependency is a problem to be solved. The need for many people to work every waking hour just to get by is a problem to be solved. The widespread belief that exercise is primarily a punishment for fatness or a talisman against it, not something enjoyable that generally makes people feel better, is a problem to be solved.
Human bodies are not a fucking problem to be solved.