Personally, I think it’s a little more complicated than people just making poor nutritional choices and not exercising enough. I sometimes feel that we blame the victim with regards to obesity.
Now, I am not denying that there are significant behavior changes that can, should and yet often are not made. I don’t want to be critical of Paula Deen, but she did open herself up to a backlash when she talked about her diabetes diagnosis. And kudos to her for altering her diet and adding in exercise. I hope a lot of people learn and benefit from her example and the changes she’s made.
But I don’t drink a ton of sweet tea, eat fried chicken or wrap hamburgers in donuts. And I bet a lot of other people with weight problems don’t do any of those things either. So what gives?
I eat relatively healthy, I don’t eat meat or consume white flour, and I do cardio or yoga several times a week. Yet, I have elevated blood sugar and cholesterol. And, I’m not going to share my weight in a public forum, but let’s just say I would love to lose a few (dozen) pounds.
I live in an area that has plenty of healthy food options and have access to a lot of information and resources. I continually look for answers – talking to experts, reading as much as I can, etc. But I don’t believe anyone has really told me anything I didn’t already know. And, despite my own best efforts, I still have health challenges.
There are factors that we can say contribute to the nation’s obesity epidemic: so-called food deserts; the addiction we’ve created over time to carbs and sugar; and the sedentary lifestyle most of us live. What we hear in response to these issues is a consistent message of “eat more fruits and vegetables and move more.” But if it was really that easy, we’d all have six packs, Linda-Hamilton-in-Terminator-2-triceps and super low BMIs. Maybe it’s time to try something different.
Despite the controversy, I was excited to see New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg enact a ban on the sale of ridiculously large sugary drinks. Agree with this move or not, you’ve got to give the guy props for approaching the problem from a different angle.
I think it’s time we acknowledge there are as many complicating factors to the obesity epidemic as there are people on the planet. And until we take some drastic changes as a society, we’re not likely to fix the problem. What do you think it would take to really tackle obesity once and for all?