Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hamburgers and Heart Attacks

It ain't that big. The whole United States ain't that big. It ain't that big. It ain't big enough. There ain't room enough for you an' me, for your kind an' my kind, for rich and poor together all in one country, for thieves and honest men. For hunger and fat.
The Grapes of Wrath
      There is a homeless man named Mike who has been living at the end of our street.  One of my roomies and I thought it would be good to bring him some food a few days ago.  We went to Subway and ordered a meatball sub (we thought it would be good to get something warm since it has been getting rather chilly at night around here). 
     When we took it to him, he was definitely grateful.  We hadn't seen him in a few days, so we asked where he had been, and as it turns out Mike had just been released from the hospital.  He had had a heart attack a few days before, and someone had called an ambulance.  He's 58.  His diet consists of a daily pint of beer and a hamburger from Jack in the Box.  It's what he can afford.
     I've written before about the deplorable state of the American food industry, but it became all the more apparent to me after talking with Mike.  It's cheaper for Mike, and other homeless citizens like him, to get a daily meal from a fast food joint than it is for them to get fresh fruits and vegetables.  His diet leads to poor health, and then taxpayers have to cover his medical bills. 
     Something needs to change.  To my eyes, it's the food industry.  If we make fruits, vegetables, and whole grains cheaper, people (poor and wealthy alike) would be more likely to buy them, and we would alleviate an unthinkable number of the stresses on our healthcare system.  If we can't do it out of concern for the people who hurt the most from social ills, then surely Americans can begin to make changes out of concern for their taxdollars and pocketbooks.  

1 comment:

  1. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/how-to-make-oatmeal-wrong/?src=me&ref=general

    Oatmeal as unhealthy as a cheeseburger. And I thought McDonald's could sink no lower. The deplorable state of American health is made worse by the willing ignorance of American citizens; it tastes good, so they don't want to know what's in it, so they get cancer later in life from all the chemicals in that lovely processed food. Cooking is just not that hard.