Battling obesity in America is no easy endeavor. When I became involved in the battle against obesity in America, I knew that the diagnosis was devastating and the prognosis was dire. I knew that there were a number of obstacles that I would be facing in implementing a program comprehensive enough to effectively engage the epidemic of obesity in America. The battle against obesity in America has to be fought on multitudinous fronts.
I am the eternal optimist, so when someone asks me can the battle against obesity be won? The answer is always a confident and astounding “yes”! This does not, in any way, imply that the victory is imminent. It simply means that it is possible. The success of this campaign depends greatly on the ability to educate the nation as a whole as to the seriousness of this epidemic and to the proper way of engaging this disease.
The stigmatic impression that the word “obesity” carries in America, in itself, creates problems. People are easily offended by the word and it has been grouped in the same category with the word “fat”, therefore attempting to discuss the issue in depth can create some friction and resistance.
Helping Americans as a whole understand the disease has great value. I believe that ignorance of the disease and its potency creates a false sense of wellbeing amongst the masses. In surveying the populace in general, the consensus would be that obesity is currently considered more of a pulchritudinous issue. Most people still view obesity as an aesthetic issue rather than a serious health issue. Getting people to understand that Obesity is positioning itself to be the number one killer in America, would be a great victory in itself.
Understanding the primary factors that are prevalent in perpetuating the exponential spread of this disease is also important. Looking at socioeconomic influences and how they can be counteracted is extremely important in getting a handle on the situation. When we view the numbers and realize the vast majority of Americans that are obese fall within certain social boundaries, including race and education levels, we become acquainted with the environmental influence aspect of the disease. These “demographic” components must be targeted in order for the campaign to be effective.
The catch phrase “lifestyle change” has taken flight and it is often used in correspondence with the remedy for obesity. I feel that it is extremely important that this phrase be clearly defined so that it can be properly applied. Making a lifestyle change can be broad in nature, but it is still extremely specific in application. First one must be willing to adjust culturally influenced habits that are contributing to the presence of the disease. This means adjusting dietary intake. Which includes what is consumed, when, how much, and how often. Lifestyle change also includes moving from sedentary lifestyles to more active lifestyles. One of the most powerful culprits in the existence of obesity is a lack of activity.
I also believe that it is paramount that there be unification of the efforts in this conflict. A great deal more can be accomplished when everyone is working toward a common cause with a common focus. There has to be definiteness of purpose and a specificity in the approach.
Another issue that has to be given immense consideration is the disparity in the ranks of obesity of those that fall below the poverty line. Why is this important? Because they are the least informed on the matter and the least capable of shouldering the financial burden that comes with battling the disease or the greater financial responsibility of battling the medical repercussions of this disease.
The health and fitness industries have to come together to develop programs that are effective and accessible to the masses.
Yes, the battle against obesity is daunting and it can seem overwhelmingly impossible; however, a well devised and exceptionally executed plan can be highly effective in engaging this deadly epidemic with favorable results.