A wellness approach to obesity is to promote wellness lifestyles, particularly the mental and meaning & purpose skill areas, while medically treating the disease of obesity. In the last decade, there has been an unprecedented 60 percent increase in the number of overweight Americans. Lifestyle quality suffers enormously because of it and each year, 300,000 citizens die of causes related to obesity. (Obesity is defined as 30 percent above ideal body weight! Imagine that — 30 percent! How many more are “only” 25 percent over ideal? I’m guessing that even ten percent over ideal is not so healthy!)
Many health experts are urging initiatives to deal with this epidemic including:
* Weight counseling by doctors in all medical practices.
* Healthy food choices in workplace cafeterias.
* Opportunities for employees to exercise during the day.
* Retooled physical education programs in schools that inspire kids to make fitness a lifetime habit.
* More policies by urban decision makers to design alternatives to cars, such as bike paths.
* Less TV — parents should send kids outdoors to play more often. At first blush, these strategies seem wise and long overdue. Who could object? Certainly not a wellness promoter, such as yours truly. And yet, I do! Why?
Because it’s all too little, too late!
Take another look at these statistics. This is not an epidemic — it’s a thermonuclear catastrophe! A little counseling here, some better food choices there, a bit of retooling, a few bike paths and less TV– these are band-aid stopgaps of little consequence to the severed arteries of obesity-related problems.
It’s simply astonishing that the president and the Congress are not doing more to address this crisis. This crisis is more consequential than Iraq, the “road map” to nowhere, drug benefits for Medicare recipients and what Hillary thinks of Bill all put together. The president and Congress are simply ignoring foundation remedies for a horrendous national disaster. Why? Because they think, possibly correctly, that people do not want to hear the truth — that they are fat, reckless, lazy and foolish for getting themselves into this fix!
Since I’m not a mayor or the president or otherwise in a situation where I am dependent on campaign contributions from the dairy, sugar or beef industries, let me acknowledge what the politicians won’t: Vastly more citizens must take greater responsibility for their health or we will soon be taken over by immigrants seeking to eat like Americans.
Our national obesity disaster and the health care crises directly tied to it are largely self-inflicted problems! Wake up and shape up, America — it’s your patriotic duty not to be an unnecessary burden on the economy. Furthermore, if you do the right thing for America, I believe you will he happier and more effective. So, to paraphrase a memorable summons to sacrifice for a larger purpose, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask if you are willing to do the right thing for your country, namely, exercise more and eat less or at least more wisely.”