Fight Obesity – Don’t Legitimize It
When I was at the Orange County Fair this past weekend, I realized once again, what a battle policymakers and health care professions face when it comes to the obesity epidemic. As I walked past stalls selling fried foods, including fried Twinkies, turkey legs, fried chicken and funnel cakes, I realized the bravery it takes to try and get people to make the right decisions when it comes to their health. Fighting obesity rather than legitimizing it is the only way to deal with the obesity epidemic.
The obesity problem is a complex one with many causes and consequences. It is not easy to address but doing so is vital because it has so many negative health consequences. It is the leading cause worldwide of diabetes, heart disease and stroke as well as several types of cancer. It also causes mental issues, such as depression and anxiety and seriously affects the quality of life. Obesity and the health problems associated with it also have a huge economic impact on the health care system of the U.S.
Dr. Stephen Shapiro, a medical doctor, and Chairman of Nuzuna Zone Fitness board believes that addressing childhood obesity is the key. Childhood obesity is increasing as family structures break down and children become more sedentary as they sit playing computer games and using their cell phones. Their diets are often far from healthy and usually include plenty of fast foods. When children are overweight between 5 to 10 years, the fat cells are there to stay and they continue to battle with weight problems throughout their lives.
Their obesity puts them at risk of many health issues and affects them not only physically but psychologically too.
Genetic factors may play some part in obesity, but if children are in a family environment and at schools where healthy eating and exercise are encouraged, they learn how to make the right decisions and maintain a healthy weight.
When the media talks about “fat acceptance” and “body positivity,” it encourages people to ignore the serious consequences of obesity and takes away from personal responsibility to make the right lifestyle decisions.
Community initiatives and increasing education about healthy eating and the role of exercise are having some impact in helping people to make the right choices. However, with the constant barrage of fast food marketing, events featuring fried foods and more, making that decision to eat healthily and get enough exercise isn’t easy. We need to be pro-active in the fight against obesity or we will never win it.