Ricardo Sanchez has one thing to say to the government and the food industry alike: Stop taking advantage of Americans.
Mayor Nutter’s two-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks is “ridiculous,” Sanchez, a lifelong North Philadelphian, said, adding, “people are going to have their soda anyway,” even if they know the health risks of a high-sugar diet.
And while Sanchez acknowledged childhood obesity is a problem in the United States – he only allowed his six children “bad food 23 percent of the time” – he said big business is what “makes America fat.”
“They have these big illustrations on the sides of busses saying, two for $3: Shamrock Shakes,” Sanchez said, a littered McDonald’s bag sitting on the ground behind him. “If a kid gets a $20 allowance on Wednesday, they go to McDonald’s or Burger King. They do that three or four days a week over a few years, [and] you’re talking obesity and diabetes.”
Sanchez also said he believes fast food is addictive, noting that, “after a certain amount of time, people start craving that.”
Though Sanchez blamed the cravings on steroids and chemicals in fruit, red meat and fast food as an issue, he said he doesn’t want the government to step in because it’s the responsibility of manufacturers to create healthy foods and of consumers to make nutritional choices.
“I feel bad for these kids that get on the bus, and they’re 14 or 15 years old, and they’re 270 pounds and struggling to breathe,” he said, imitating his description with three deep, raspy breaths. “That’s sad. Now, when I see the same person the next morning or the next afternoon come out of Kentucky Fried Chicken with a big bag of food, it’s like, ‘Huh?’ I’ve heard of that thyroid gland problem, but – Lord forgive me – fat people eat fat food.”
Ashley Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.