News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 9, 2013

READERS' FORUM: Feb. 9, 2013


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Getting our arms around obesity

Obesity is a growing problem in this country (no pun intended — it’s not funny) and you don’t have to travel throughout other states to see it. According to a Gallup study on obesity for 2012, Indiana had the fourth-largest percentage of individuals who have level-two obesity, which means a BMI [Body Mass Index] between 35 percent and 40 percent.

Medical exceptions aside, there is a simple cure for obesity — eat less and exercise more. Another way to state this “fix” for obesity is for your body to use more calories than you consume. What is evident here is what appears to be a major contributing factor in obesity — laziness. Not really a bold statement when you open your eyes and take note of common occurrences in Terre Haute.

Let’s start with shopping centers. How many times have you seen shopping carts orphaned in various locations but not in the corrals intended to collect them? Of course this practice is also inconsiderate and rude, but how hard is it to push an empty cart 20 or so feet away where it does not block a parking space, or worse, go rolling downhill later and dent someone’s vehicle?

Also look at how many people ignore the no-parking zone at the curb immediately outside the store (which is illegal, this area is intended for emergency response vehicles) and either park there anyway or have someone wait for them there while the car is running (wasting gas and polluting the area). Would someone in law enforcement please hand out summonses to these individuals?

Electric carts. Every store now seems to have them but who really needs to use them? It’s a known fact that the simplest and least stressful (readily available too) exercise is walking (not counting getting out of bed, or breathing.) Many doctors recommend that their patients recovering from either a heart attack, or heart surgery, go out and walk a little every day. Walking through a store may add up to less than half a mile, unless you don’t know where anything is and wander around for a while. None of the stores that I shop in have any hills either. Many of the “riders” I see could use the exercise of a little walk through the store.

Many are also passing laziness on to their children. Go past any school either at the beginning of the school day or at dismissal and witness the traffic jam that occurs. I’m not talking about bitter cold days, or days when it’s either snowing or raining, I’m talking about every school day. What is wrong with walking to and from school? It’s not possible to walk uphill to school both ways as some have been told their parents or grandparents used to do, but if a child lives less than a mile walking distance from school, then why not encourage them to get that exercise? Especially if taking the bus is not an option.

Lastly, how about handicap plates or hang tabs? Why are there so many? What prevents lazy people from “sharing” those hang tabs? I believe the hang tab should not only have an expiration date on them but also the license plate for the individual that has been granted the hang tab. Requesting and granting handicap status should also require more than a pulse and an excuse.

With obesity comes increased health risks and therefore higher costs for medical care. Few of us will ever boast “six pack abs” but it’s in everyone’s best interest to reduce obesity in our state and society as a whole. Given that Indiana is also tied for third place among states with smokers accounting for 25 percent of its population (Kentucky leads the “pack” at 29 percent) there is even more incentive for Hoosiers to get in better shape. The synergistic relationship between smoking and obesity is mortifying. (Yes, it kills.)

— Douglas Elia

Terre Haute

Dismayed by graffiti display

Today I was sad to see graffiti on the underpass at I-70 and U.S. 41.  

This is the first thing people will see coming off the interstate from Indianapolis and will leave a bad impression of the city they are about to enter.

I hope the graffiti is not allowed to stand and that people can be vigilant about such open displays of vandalism.

— Bill Cain

Terre Haute