Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Opinion Piece

Fat, overweight, obese people are everywhere. Walk into a grocery store, go to a gym, head to the movies, anywhere and everywhere you go you are likely to see a higher proportion of people who are out of shape, overweight and just plain and simple fat. This is more than a problem, this is truly an epidemic that has far reaching effects, many of which we are aware of and many which we have yet to experience.

Think about this: there are more than under these book searches on Amazon there is
Health = 847,000+
Diet: 290,000
Fitness: 232,000
Weight Loss: 62,000

WOW! The choices, options, and endless supply of just books on these topics is AMAZING. Add to that all the different types of exercise regimens, the number of gyms, yoga studios, aerobic centers, Curves, in-home fitness products, you tube videos, online training aids, podcasts, and on and on we go.

Yet the obesity numbers (which vary according to sources from 30.6% of Americans to 25% (Wall Street Journal), compared to 15.3% in 1995 and they are continuing to rise despite all the available options and information available.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/51585.php (list comparisons between countries throughout the world)

According to http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/1031002183.html the number of overweight is 34%. And according to former US Surgeon General David Satcher, obesity counts for 300,000 premature deaths per year. Obesity raises our risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer and other chronic diseases. “Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in the developed world,” emphasizes Dr. Zebrack, “and the second most preventable cause of death after smoking.”

What does the article and what do most of us in the business (I believe) understand, we must modify behavior. Duh! My question is why, with all the information about how to, the affects, and the supposed wisdom of all this are we growing in the wrong way and worse off than every before.

Is there a correlation between the growth and development of the world? Is there something to GMO foods and just how food is produced, not just consumed? Is the marketing and advertising as well as media coverage contributing negatively to the rise in obesity? Is our cultural approach to life, the desire for more of everything, money, cars, homes, goods, etc. a contributing factor? Are us health and wellness professionals failing our people, our clients, family and friends whom we impact? Do we have a greater obligation to our clients, and society at large to change the tide?

For me I believe a yes applies in all areas on some if not most levels. Do you have thoughts on this? Or are you just too busy to think and/or worry about this stuff? This may be the case, and I believe in many cases we are just so strapped in our lives with our time and commitments that we have little energy to take a deeper look or more to the point do something about it. Afterall, this is a big bit to chew and takes an immense amount of energy, changing the behavior and psychology behind our deepest desires, our actions that lead to our choices, our way of being. And, it is not easy when you are putting forth the effort but feel you have little support or follow through from others.

This road of behavior modification both on a personal and larger scale is not without challenges but I have to say it feels good to be doing and being my part and I am sure those of you who are or feel that you are doing your part can understand where I am coming from.

It is a 'fight' I believe worth fighting for

One aspect of this that is of particular interest is why are people, all over the world growing in size?


Todd Gilchrist said...

Hey Joe,

This remains one of the great mysteries in all areas of life. As you stated, there is an abundant supply of technology, information and resources available to help people lead happy, healthy and successful lives; whether it be someone’s personal, professional or physical life. People have the unlimited access to get the knowledge, and I believe that most people DO have the knowledge. Yet some people remain in denial and continually give themselves excuses as to why they shouldn’t or can’t become happy, healthy or successful. The question I often ponder is, “why”?

I completely agree with you that this is a fight worth fighting! You are in a great position my friend; as you have undoubtedly done in the past, you are destined to continue to help people change their lives for the better.

Take care - Todd

Joe Sarti said...

thank you Todd,

Well said as usual coming from you and thank you for participating in the process. Wonder where people learn the behavior of 'giving themselves excuses as to why they shouldn't or can't become hapy, healthy, or successful'. I am curious one to the source of this and then to your question of WHY they allow this source to influence them.

I love good questions and discussions!

Jo said...

this piece resonated with me! I'm fighting the fight, especially since i was once part of the 'obese' statistic. :)