Columnist

It seems as though a week seldom goes by without some new evidence of America’s slippage in rank, compared with other countries. If it’s not about our teenagers’ proficiency in math and science, it’s about the quality of our health-care system or the prevalence of career opportunities for women. And now, the final indignity: According to a new United Nations study, the United States is no longer the fattest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Suddenly, we’re second to Mexico.

I say: This Must Not Stand.

Are you with me, people? We may not be able to bring our math scores up to Finland’s or Singapore’s, but this we can do. We’re built for fixing this. We will fight them! We will fight them on the beaches! With really small Speedos on really big bodies!

I propose a five-pronged attack with an appropriate five-pronged acronym: Fatness & Obesity Restoration Kickstarter.

Prong One: Culinary Deception. We have not been doing enough to lie to the calorie-conscious. Sure, many of our finer chain restaurants have become masters of the hidden denominator trick, in which they dutifully list the calorie-per-serving content of their food, but then disclose in agate type that, say, a single guacamole appetizer, listed at a respectable 440 calories per serving, is “four servings.”

(Eric Shansby)

This is fine as far as it goes, but it is not thinking Big enough. We can universally redefine a “serving” as a “mouthful,” meaning a deep-fried bacon cheeseburger with marshmallow sauce and a side of cheesy fries is only a sleek 170 calories per serving.

Prong 2: Technology. Why are “moving walkways” to be found only in airports? We are not only unnecessarily limiting the use of this valuable flab-generating technology, we are actually confining it to the one place where it disproportionately helps tourists. We are giving this away to foreigners. To MEXICANS! Moving walkways should become our universal indoor horizontal transport systems, as ubiquitous as escalators. Imagine the BMI impact of interconnected moving walkways between the Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s pretzels.

Prong 3: Workplace Inducements. Places of business can encourage weight gain by instituting new performance-evaluation modalities keyed to our national bargain-seeking mentality. In the new “price per pound” evaluation metric, an employee’s salary is divided by his or her weight. So a sales manager who weighs 118 pounds might cost the company $600 a year per unit weight, but a sales manager who weighs in at 260 would seem a relative steal at $285 a year.

Prong 4: Urban Amenities. We must immediately suspend the insidiously popular bike-share rental programs in our big cities, which have done so much to surreptitiously encourage exercise. There will be no loss of revenue, through a simple upgrade: Bike-share rental racks will be replaced with rental racks of those motorized scooter chairs.

Prong 5: Popular Culture. Sure, Honey Boo Boo and her family have done much to celebrate the fecklessly corpulent, but that barely scratches the surface of where we can go. Some of this is so obvious it barely merits mention, such as replacing “The Biggest Loser” with “The Biggest Gainer.”

But that is far too passive an approach. We need to proactively demonize and humiliate the thin. Example: At amusement parks, for the most popular rides, replace minimum height requirements with minimum weight requirements.

Fashion designers and clothing stores must do their part by redefining baseline morphology: Instead of larger people getting ghettoized in the euphemistic “Plus Size” section, or men’s “big and tall,” those sections would simply become the unlabeled norm. Thin people will have to slink away to the insectoid-sounding “Ectomorph” section — or maybe “Tweezers” or “Rectal Thermometers.”

If we can get our arms around these simple solutions, we should be back in Fat City in no time.

E-mail Gene at weingarten@washpost.com. Find chats and updates at washingtonpost.com/magazine.

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