Obesity – Defining the "Real" Problem

There is no question that obesity is a real problem worldwide. It is reported to be one of the greatest health concerns of our time. The Centers for Disease Control states that “Obesity is a contributing cause of many other health problems, including heart disease stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer. These are some of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Obesity can cause sleep apnea and breathing problems as well as limit mobility. Obesity can also causes problems during pregnancy or make it more difficult for a woman to become pregnant.” With literally millions of articles claiming obesity facts and statistics on the internet, not to mention print, radio and film, obesity is readily defined as a root cause claiming the lives and lifestyles of our families and our communities. Or is it?

Is obesity really the cause of all these problems, or is it more accurate to say that obesity is merely another symptom of the true underlying problems that plague our society? Although one article can not define the complexity of the symptom of obesity we can surely gain an understanding and start to right our thinking with regard to the issue by defining a few of the variables involved.

  • Physical: Some of the more physical or tangible causes of obesity are the lifestyle factors. What are we doing or not doing to create this problem? A severe imbalance in our nutritional intake coupled with lack of proper physical activity is prevalent among those who suffer from obesity.
  • Mental: At the very least our way of thinking is skewed when it comes to the topic of obesity. Thinking of it as a cause rather than a symptom is evidence if this upside down thinking pattern. We need to get our mental game up to par before we can even consider making change.
  • Psychological: The emotional and psychological factors surrounding obesity are as varied as those who suffer from it. Our relationship with food and the way we feel about exercise can certainly be both the cause and the cure for this problem.
  • Social: The people we surround ourselves with can add to or detract from our leading a healthy lifestyle. More social functions take place around a centerpiece of unhealthy foods than I care to even think of.
  • Corporate: Industry capitalizes on our dysfunction around food and exercise. 100 calorie packs of junk are consumed in great quantity disguised as healthy alternatives. We ingest chemicals we would otherwise never consume in the name of dietary supplementation. We are promised we don’t need to exercise if we take this or wear that.
  • Government: Although on one end of the spectrum it appears the government is taking a stand and calling us to action with regard to this issue, the actions of government itself often lead us in direct opposition of this goal. Since “we the people” are our government, we need to take this responsibility seriously and look to make change in our political policy.

I could go on and on but the fact remains, the solution to our obesity epidemic does not lie in fighting obesity itself, it lies in fighting the issues that lead to this symptom. All the obesity statistics, facts, and figures can not help us unless we first resolve our thinking epidemic. By gaining an understanding of the root causes we can then stand ready to defeat what is said to be one of our greatest health risks of all times.