Hardball Factor 360°: Does America Feel a Bit Lighter All of a Sudden?

I certainly have had an extra spring in my step–metaphorically at least–as a study was published earlier this week (to much fanfare) that America’s young people are much less obese than they used to be.

I’ve been cynical for at least a decade and have long given up most hope for the wellbeing of our generation. Young people (and by young people I mean toddlers and babies of the 21st century) have always, however, been a beacon of hope for me. Maybe it’s the spark in their eyes or the warmth of their exuberance, but whenever I see a toddler I just get a sense that, one day, when me and my peers have ostensibly destroyed society with our overwhelming narcissism that young person will be there to save the world.

You can imagine my dismay when, year after year, these children were getting less and less healthy. We were shoveling corn syrup and artificial coloring into these tiny mouths and poisoning what is, at this point, our only hope for a better tomorrow.

“This is it,” I said, when news was released some years ago that today’s young people were likely to live shorter lives than those of their parents. “We took the one good thing we had going for us, and we destroyed it.”

Lo and behold, it is 2014 and the enlightened minority appear to have prevailed! According to a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, young people today are about 5 percent less obese than they were 8 years ago, a remarkable turnaround.

There are several reasons why this likely happened, many of which are rather dry and involve small but crucial changes to existing policy structures (like changes to the types of foods provided by the WIC welfare program) but all of these are just signs of a growing enthusiasm and concern–matched with the political will to actualize real, positive change–to improve the lots of our children that is, to the say the least, refreshing. Hopefully the trend will continue.

According to the same report, obesity also fell some for people in my age range (20-39)–which is fantastic news. Unfortunately, it looks like I should still plan on obesity by the time 40 rolls around.

Now I’m panicking. I’m going to go shove these negative emotions back down into my gut with some food.