The Enemy Within: Obesity Is Eating This Country
30 YEAR STUDY: We Are Becoming Fatter
Our nation is experiencing a health-based crisis that threatens our bodies and minds, even as it is bankrupting our pockets. Think trillion dollar health bill by 2020. Our government, rather than wield a hard and swift sword against food conglomerates that place profits above safety, is taking baby steps. Meanwhile, we as a nation are becoming more and more overweight to the point of obesity and chronic illness.
That is the grim conclusion of a startling 30-year study that was reported in September in the annals of Internal Medicine. The article talks about several undeniable cultural shifts that have occurred in the last fifteen years.
The first shift is a new phenomena called Screen Time: It’s a catch-all phrase denoting computing, gaming, instant messaging, watching TV, text messaging, pod-casting, and any number of other activities that place you in front of a screen for hours on end. This activity alone puts us into a zero calorie burn state. For the first time, many of us are doing something where only our brain is engaged. As a result our body essentially disappears and becomes practically obsolete in that moment.
This is a major cultural shift for us.
Another shift is the vast supply of nutritionally empty, sugar laden, trans-fat, toxic, processed food that is everywhere and available to everyone. And you don’t have to expend even a few calories in order to obtain it. Never before has man (and woman) so methodically overdosed on over-caloried, non-nutritious food that keeps us overfed and undernourished. Never before has a culture been spoon fed what, essentially, amounts to its own demise.
These two cultural shifts merge in a 30 year study done on 4,000 white adults—and these weren’t black or Hispanic adults, whose statistics in the arena of obesity and type 2 diabetes are horrendous —these are 4000 white adults. They were followed for 30 years, with participants ranging in age between 30 and 59 at the start of the study. Every 4 years they were given a physical exam. What the researchers found was larger girth, expanding waistlines, and higher levels of body fat. Every 4 years. Like clockwork, people just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
30 years later, a whopping nine out of ten men, and seven out of ten women were overweight. Roughly 1/3 had become or were nearly morbidly obese.
This study was already two-thirds over when the internet really started taking hold.
THE WELL-WASHED BRAIN
When researchers started looking at the hurdles in our society to putting down junk food, they found complacency had set it in.
I call it brainwashing.
As a nation we are aboard a speeding train heading flat out toward obesity and illness. Unless we start implementing radical changes, the next decade will bring with it chronic illness that is going to set in and explode exponentially. It is our duty to speak up regarding this slow-motion train wreck between bad food and diminished movement.
We all know the solution; unfortunately, more often than not, it’s a case of preaching to the choir. It’s a two-parter: Nutrition and Exercise.
1) Nutrition–what you put in your mouth is a huge topic, and better left for another rant. I will say simply examine your diet and that of loved ones who are heavy, and be loving and positive, even as you create small but meaningful shifts in caloric intake.
2) Physical activity: We have got to overcome the resistance to being active right now.
Find physical activities that are aligned with your personality and your own preferences, whatever they might be. But become active.
If you hate climbing stairs, don’t get a treadmill and lie to yourself that you’ll get on the thing. Find ways to be socially active: Take dancing lessons at the local Y. Walk for Breast Cancer, or ride a bike for whichever charity feels most congruent with your heart expanding-values. Do anything and everything to stay physically engaged.
The choice is becoming hard to ignore: It is between Life, and a slow, chronically ill and very expensive death.
The choice is yours and yours alone.
Daniel at Blue Phoenix