Approximately one third of Americans are overweight and one third of Americans are obese. Obesity and excess weight affect our health. Seventeen percent of adolescents aged 2 to 19 are obese. The health consequences of being overweight and obese are: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, cancer, fatty liver disease and quality of life. Childhood obesity is associated with premature death in adulthood, breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, increased risk for cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological effects. This is the first generation that may not outlive the generation before them. Personally, I cried when I read that "overweight and obese children are at risk of being on dialysis in their thirties if we don't do something now."
Obesity is not only a personal problem, but a health and an economic problem that contributes to death and dissability. Health issues drive up costs for companies and individuals who carry insurance. Obesity is now the responsibility of the nation.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Start at home with your own family. Do you want your children having heart attacks, diabetes 2 and broken bones? It's time to get serious. Start shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. Introduce fresh and or frozen fruits and vegetables into family snacks and meals. Get rid of fatty foods, empty calorie snacks and sugary juices. These are sometimes foods. Your family will eat what you have.
Live an active life. Get on your bikes and play basketball. Take family walks and go to the community pool. If there is one thing you can control in life, it is what you put in in your mouth and what you do with your body. As a parent, an aunt, an uncle, a teacher or a grandparent, you have a responsiblity to be a healthy role model. For the most part, overweight families are overweight because of the cooking in the house, the foods brought in, the restaurants the families are dining at and the lack of activity. Let's get healthy, one family at a time.
Live your life and live it well.
Ellen S. Abramson
author of Live To Dance