Nearly everyone has been affected by an over-weight relative or friend who is dealing with cancer, heart attack, stroke and/or diabetes. While they've undoubtedly heard the public health messages to eat cleaner and exercise more, they have not felt motivated to make lifestyle changes. Instead, they are suffering from the so-called diseases of aging that are really diseases of inactivity and over-nutrition. They aren’t having much fun at the doctors’ offices.
Public health guru Dr. David Katz is spreading his health message that we, as a society, need to curb the obesity epidemic. According to well-documented research presented by Dr. Katz, if we don’t stop the obesity epidemic, an estimated 42 percent of all Americans will be obese in 18 years. One-third will be diabetic. Our kids will die at a younger age than their parents, and the healthcare system will be bankrupt.
By preventing obesity, we can see stunning benefits.
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg is working hard to change the obesogenic environment in New York City. The naysayers may be complaining he is taking away a person's right to choose, but he’s not taking away soda. NYC is just not enabling that bad choice.
In our modern world, we are victims of our own success. We have engineered out the lifestyle that kept our parents and grandparents fit and strong, including riding bikes to work, walking to school, and hanging laundry outside to dry. We have engineered in processed foods that come in huge portions and taste yummy. No surprise less than 2 percent of Americans eat the recommend number of fruits and vegetables.
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How can we motivate people to take better care of themselves? We need to focus on the personal benefits—longer life, less pain and more fun.
The good news is obesity is strongly linked to behaviors we can control, including the foods we choose to chew and the amount of exercise we get. Granted, other factors also have an impact, including gut microbiota, sleep deprivation, and genetics—and genes can be changed with positive food choices. So if we will be able to have more fun, let’s do it!
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