I was going to reply singularly to the comments made in my post titled 'Everything's big in America' but I think it needs a separate, more visible platform, so I'm posting a reply to everyone who got involved in the debate.
This post produced a lot of comments, both positive and negative but it's important for you to understand that I am making a pertinent observation, particularly about obese kids.
Not all people using wheelchairs are able to walk, I know and not all people who are overweight are just plain greedy with no self-control. Not all so-called junk food is necessarily 'bad' for you. A balanced combination of burgers and exercise will not readily lead to obesity because you use up the calories, so demonising certain foods is stupid. These days, a fast fix of energy is often needed ( I know this because I eat 'junk food' before I go to work) but if it is used up by the body it won't make you fat.
Being rude about overweight people is counter-productive and thoughtless, so let's treat this as a scientific debate and give it a sense of urgency for the sake of our children. We are ALL to blame for what's happening. We have become lazy and greedy in harmony with affluence and development. We seek out the easiest way of life and it is handed to us on a plate: flat screen TV's, video games, warm bedrooms and this crazy illogical fear of a child murderer on every street means we don't play the same way that we used to - we don't do the physical stuff we had to before all that came along.
If you were brought up when you could 'safely' play out on the streets and your mother had to hand-wring the washing you were probably a very lean child. You had no electronic comforts and no distractions at home to keep you in. Homework was probably waiting for you there, so you kept as far away as possible and that meant you played football, ran around, had little gang fights with rival kids or wandered miles away from your street seeking adventure. You all got home safely and you were a few pounds lighter for the experience.
Shockingly, a recent study into the distances children travel when playing outside in London showed that, compared to a few decades ago when the play radius was around a mile, kids were practically confined to their back yards. All because the Press says there is a paedophile on every street. It's worth knowing that this threat has always existed; for example, the term Sweet Fanny Adams is Victorian and refers to a young girl by that name who was abducted from her own garden and killed in broad daylight, so let's not get paranoid. Helping our kids get too fat to breathe when they walk is just as cruel as opening them up to the small risk of something happening to them when they go out and play.
There are plenty of towns in this country where kids still wander away from home and return safely, plenty.
This is my point. What I saw in the States demonstrated our future and I found it depressing and scary. Kids being wheeled around by lazy parents were witnessing adults being wheeled around by themselves, many of whom were just too overweight and lazy to walk. What kind of lesson is that for those kids? It becomes the norm for them and they will grow up using the least energetic method to get from A to B. They will, as a result, and a combination of the modern lifestyle I have outlined above, become fat, overweight and then obese...some of them morbidly so. Their lives will effectively be over and it will happen to younger and younger children all over the modern world.
So, fast food isn't the problem on its own. Technology isn't the problem on its own. Ignorance, fear and laziness...those are the problems.
Thanks to those of you who commented on that post.