The Truth Behind Obesity
By traci lawrence
People being overweight and obesity are both topics that are discussed on a regular basis. They are currently considered to be one of our national health crisis, especially childhood obesity. In fact, the Center for Disease Control sites,"If the current trend of childhood obesity continues we will have the first generation ever to die younger and sicker than the generation before them." That is an alarming statement, and one we should carefully consider.
What are the contributing factors to this rising rate of overweight people and/or obesity in our country? I would like to propose that in the majority of cases it boils down to one basic principle, the misuse of food. Food is meant to be fuel for our bodies. Food is intended to help our bodies grow, heal and perform daily physical tasks. It is to our bodies as gasoline is to an automobile. A very necessary element, but when misused can have very negative effects. Lets look at some of the ways we misuse food.
Food as a reward. These days in school good test scores get kids a pizza party, behaving for a substitute earns donuts, everyone turning in their homework gets a coke break. When did we start rewarding basic good behavior that should be expected of our young generation? Do we feel that candy or a cookie has to be at the end of good behavior in order for our kids to complete it? Maybe just maybe if we keep high standards, our next generation might live up to them.
Food as entertainment or as a cure for boredom. We are all probably guilty of this to some extent. Imagine, there is nothing to do, at least nothing we want to do. The yard is mowed, laundry is done and the car is clean. What to do? Go look in the refrigerator or the pantry and grab something to eat. Most of the time when we do this we aren't even really hungry, just bored.
Food as a band-aid. As kids we were all probably offered some type of food when we were hurt or sad. It is amazing how a bowl of ice cream or chocolate chip cookie can make a hurt knee feel better. As adults we know that cookies and ice cream are not how to deal with a hurt knee, but they sure do help with hurt or lonely feelings. Food does not make the pain go away but for a short time it does offer some relief.
Food for profit. Restaurants and food manufactures pay big money to food engineers. These individuals spend their time trying to find ways to make food irresistible - even addictive to you and me. They are not concerned with your weight or health, they are concerned with selling their food item and making a profit. Another aspect of profit-driven obesity to consider is the medical field. I know this will probably get some feathers ruffled, but it must be considered.
How much profit would doctors and pharmaceutical companies derive if everyone was at a healthy weight? Many diseases that people seek treatment for are related to being overweight or obese. I am not saying the medical field is making people overweight. Taking in more calories than needed is what makes people overweight. What I am suggesting is that perhaps more resources are funneled at prevention. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Currently 93 billion dollars are spent on addressing obesity. Much in spent in medical cost, either directly or indirectly, and much on diet and exercise gimmicks, products to reduce your appetite. Ask many people who are struggling with their weight if their hunger is their real problem. Many will say no because they eat when they are not hungry, and many keep eating after they feel full.
There is no trick or instant cure for being over weight or obese. It takes time and effort and making the right choices about what goes into our bodies and how much we move them. It is a simple concept....but it is not easy. To lose weight you must burn more than you take in. This is a daily struggle and decision that each of us have to make. Temptation is everywhere, on t.v. at meetings, on the kitchen counter, on your desk, the radio,in magazines and especially in your own home.
Food is meant to provide fuel and nourishment for our bodies. When we use food for other purposes we probably won't like the results. it is unnecessary to say but, we all need food and we all must have food. Food is not bad when used as it was designed to be used.
Send your questions or comments to Traci at firstname.lastname@example.org
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