Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Australiana Super Sized

Australia is a nation best known for its love of sport and its success in its sporting endeavours. Both team sports like cricket and rugby come naturally to the Aussies, as well as individual events such as golf and swimming. The green and gold team have produced a long list of sporting heroes ranging from cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman to golfing great Greg Norman and more recently, swimming icon Ian Thorpe. Australia has been soaking up global adulation for its sporting glory for a couple of decades straight, and just as the Aussie athletes were being sent off to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an American study was published revealing that their place as gold medal winners in the world obese Olympics had already been secured!

At first glance Australia seems to strike a balance pairing the best traditions of its migrant cultures to create a balance mix. Old habits die hard and thus fish ‘n’ chips are alive and kicking, the deluge of deep-fried nastiness offset by gorgeous green Asian stir fries. I figured the Aussies had it all figured out – drinking themselves silly at the pub with a pint too many, simply reversing it all with a jog the next day and a yoga session to de-toxify the body. Turns out it just isn’t that simple.

Aussie suburbs are structured similarly: two opposing businesses vying to produce and sell at the cheapest price possible. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that cheap inevitably means a compromise on quality. Australian families are thus limited by choice, subjected to commercialized competing fast food giants like KFC and McDonalds as well as rival grocery/ supermarket retail chains that make finding fresh, quality produce almost impossible. While Australians tighten their purse-strings however, they surely have to be loosening their belts to accommodate all the extra calories that cheap, processed food is adding to their waistlines.

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