Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gluttony Is Olympian Sport on Travel Channel

When did gluttony become an Olympic sport?

The Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food Nation promotes over-eating as a Herculean and manly trait.

Complete with crowd encouragement and melodramatic music, Adam Richman travels the country eating at restaurants that offer supersize platters for gargantuan eaters.

Richman huffs, puffs, and sweats his way through seriously oversize portions that may be seasoned with the hottest chile peppers and spices.

Comparisons to athletic training are explicit and frequent. The show’s star frames his showdowns with obscenely large meals at competitive events. The recipes – burgers, pizza, and the like – are loaded with carbohydrates and calories.

This show is so popular that Man vs. Food Nation evolved from the original program, Man vs. Food.

The promotion of gluttony is disturbing – especially when no show similarly glamorizes a gourmand for eating wisely controlled portions of healthy foods.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly one-third of the U.S. population is obese. The number of obese children has doubled since 1980, and fat adolescents have tripled.

The consequences of obesity are serious health problems – from diabetes to heart attack and stroke – and early death.

We often think the word obese is a politically-correct way to avoid calling someone fat. In fact, the definition of obesity is being fat to the point where a person’s health is harmed.

CDC is so concerned with the effects of our national gluttony and poor eating habits that web page after page is devoted to such topics as U.S. health care costs are as out of control as our eating – and the link is scientifically proven. Travel Channel’s contribution to this health quarmire, Man vs. Food Nation, is unconscionable. And that's not all. Similar programming that vaunts over-eating includes World's Best Places to Pig out, for example. What's next -- a program that shows a smoker traveling the country to over-indulge the best tobacco? Travel Channel is one of several liftstyle networks conjointly owned by Scripps Networks Interactive (70 percent) and the Tribune Company (30 percent).
There’s lot of irresponsible programming on TV, of course. People rant about sexual content, depictions of unmarried parents, and violence, for example. Controversy reigns because the nation cannot agree about social values.

The jury is not, however, about the link between gluttony, obesity, disease, and death. The consequences gluttony contribute our overburdened health care system.

Scripps Interactive and the Tribune Company are irresponsible to air a show that promotes over-eating as a competitive sport.