Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Obese cats and doggies: some thoughts

Now we're in the throes of summer, people are walking about the streets and parks with their dogs. I was watching one couple--a young man and woman in their early thirties and their young, very fat labrador (American breed because it was taller and had the boxy head)--the other day in a town near where I live and a thought suddenly occurred to me. Do people who are overweight also own animals that are overweight? I began to look around.

Sure enough, all the dogs that were fat belonged to overweight people? I couldn't believe it. Yesterday, I was in NYC to sign my Friday Project contract at my literary agent. Finding some time to spare, I went into Central Park for a bit of research. What did I learn? I learned it isn't just a Pennsylvania phenomenon. All overweight dogs in the park belonged to overweight people. And teh more overweight the dog, the more overweight the owner. So there was a decided correlation

Another idea popped into my head. If these owners managed their animals diets and exercise scrupulously, would they also begin to manage their own diets and exercise regimes too? It's very possible. Maybe that's the way toward a more healthy society. Focus on the fat percentage of our animals, not on our own weight. Hey presto.

The only other way I think the health of a nation can be improved is if the government mandates that we go to gyms in the same way they mandate that all children must be educated to a certain grade. As part of that initiative, they could give corporations tax benefits if they enroll their employees in gyms and pay fro the indigent to go to gyms, etc. they coudl alos impose higher taxes on corporations producing junk food, food with too many calories due to too much saturated fat and/or sugar.

It probably wouldn't go down well in the US where many people are hypersensitive about governmental interference in their private lives. But hey, we allow the government to set the rules for school kids attending school and we monitor their attendance. We do so because it's a legitimate benefit to society to have an educated population. So why can't we do it in this area. It's a legitimate benefit to society to stamp out obesity. It would produce a healthy population and we'd save billions of dollars on medical bills for heart disease, diabetes and a raft of other ills. And we'd have healthy dogs and cats, too.

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