Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest has twenty people battling it out to scarf down as many hot dogs (buns included) as they can in ten minutes. The participants stand behind a thirty foot table at Coney Island’s hotspot, Nathan’s. Whether you are seeing the event directly from Coney Island or watching it on your TV set, the event seems exciting because it’s as if you are taking part in the making of history. However, on closer inspection, this New York tradition can be seen as symbolizing one of America’s biggest social problems—obesity.
For the contest, participants train themselves to eat unhealthy amounts of food. This quasi-Olympic sport suggests behavior that will lead people in the direction of heart problems and diabetes. Although it is recommended to average 2,000 calories a day, Joey Chestnut, a fellow hot dog contender, eats around 20,000 calories during each contest. The audience watching the hot dog eating contest may not realize that the competitors undergo unique eating habits in order to participate in the matches. Chesnut reveals that “his training consist[s] of fasting and stretching his stomach with water and milk.” During the challenge, he uses the method of “shaking and clinching the muscles in [his] abdomen and pushing everything down."
The United States is the ninth most obese country in the world, with 74.1% of its population being overweight or obese. As a result, a drastic change needs to be made to improve these statistics. One baby step may be to bring about educational awareness.
Article Sources: http://www.infoplease.com/world/statistics/obesity.html
Image Source: http://southerngaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/nathans-hot-dog-eating-contest.bmp
Monday, October 17, 2011