By Contributing Author
The modern lifestyle has brought with it convenience and luxury, but we are quickly beginning to realize that these things come at a cost. We’re not talking about monetary costs either, but rather the impact that such things can have on public health. Before sudden boom in global wealth that occurred in the 20th Century, most people generally ate a rather balanced diet since it wasn’t affordable to eat toothsome, unhealthy meals on a regular basis.
All of that changed once the average person started getting much wealthier. By the middle of the 1900s, people could generally afford to eat whatever they liked. A boom in restaurants and eateries that served very delicious but also very unhealthy food meant that these newly wealthy consumers had a lot of options to choose from. This lead to the adoption of what is now called the WPD or Western Pattern Diet, and it brought along with it a whole host of health problems that are still being felt on a society wide basis to this day despite frequent attempts to reverse the tide.
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The Western Pattern Diet involves the consumption of a lot of red meat much of which is heavily processed, along with high sugar intake. This coupled with the widespread use of unhealthy cooking methods such as frying are what lead to the health epidemics of today, and fast food restaurants are at least partly to blame. The fact that unhealthy yet tasty food could be consumed at prices everyone could afford without having to do the work themselves was a recipe for disaster, but whilst focusing on the health impact of the food one mustn’t forget the almost comparable negative health consequences that come from restaurant chairs.
It can seem ridiculous to think of at first, but the impact that the wrong kinds of chairs can have on our health is very real. The first problem comes with the kind of posture people can attain in these chairs. Poor posture can result in various issues with the spine, a part of the body that plays an important regulatory role in our internal systems and is in many ways the foundation upon which the rest of your health is built. Going to a chiropractor isn’t just something that you do for your back after all, it has a wider impact on your physical wellbeing because your spine is closely interlinked to multiple areas of your health.
Chronic lower back problems have become a common complaint among adults, and the chairs that we sit in are to blame. There are definitely a lot of other chairs that we sit on that need to be changed, from our office chairs to the ones we have at home, but these are frequently referred to in discussions on such matters. Chairs in restaurants, on the other hand, rarely ever get the same level of attention, which is why a conversation needs to be started on the effect they have and how it can be mitigated.
Now, there is a risk here of going too far in the opposite direction. Such a thing is common whenever the negative consequences of one particular phenomenon end up getting highlighted. It is a real problem that most people can’t temper their responses to such information, and they end up taking the solution to the extreme. Posture correction is important, but trying to achieve this through the propagation of uncomfortable, rigid chairs is most definitely not the way to go particularly if one is looking for a more long term solution.
It’s definitely possible to start using chairs that help people keep their postures upright, but there is no reason whatsoever for these chairs to be uncomfortable. In fact, chairs that ostensibly improve posture at the expense of comfort are known to cause a lot more harm than good which is something that everyone should take into consideration. Restaurants need people to feel comfortable after all since they are providing what is essentially a leisure experience. The furniture that is a part of this experience should be optimized accordingly for reasons that are quite obvious.
Part of the reason why more focus needs to be put on chairs in restaurants is so that we can start developing a more holistic approach to public health. It is a common misconception that focusing on a few areas here and there can implement positive change in society. This is almost never the case. Change always has to be widespread, otherwise there will be cracks in the foundation that would prevent positive impacts from being truly universal. This is a conversation that is only just beginning, and chances are that more information will need to be acquired before restaurants can figure out what the best course of action would be for them.
It is also essential to realize that it’s not just posture issues that come to the forefront when chairs are being discussed. The way that most chairs that are used in restaurants are made results in excessive pressure being placed on the inner thighs. This can result in blood flow problems, and spending too much time sitting on these chairs can cause a variety of long term ailments too.
What needs to be emphasized more than anything else is that modern restaurant culture is inherently unsustainable. Whether you look at it from an environmental perspective or a public health perspective, the fact remains that people need to be educated about what their current lifestyles will do to them as time goes by. Alternative options like floor seating or standing desks and tables might not be popular at present, but this is no reason to avoid looking into them. The potential benefits far outweigh any unpopularity that they might experience at first, as people will always get used to something that will improve their lives in some way.