Monday, April 15, 2013

The Weight of the Nation

As a dietitian, I am very conscious of the weight problem that seems to be engulfing our country. Every day, I see more and more people desperately seeking the knowledge and resources to lead a healthy lifestyle. The problem? There are too many environmental factors working against them.

HBO recently released an interesting TV special entitled, The Weight of the Nation. The film was produced as an effort to raise awareness about the ever increasing health problems which are directly related to obesity. The four-part documentary series feature, “case studies, interviews with our nation’s leading experts, and individuals and their families struggling with obesity.” (source) The Weight of the Nation does an excellent job of portraying the seriousness of the obesity issue, especially when it comes to our children. The documentary does not glaze over any of the real issues causing obesity; the invasion of too many processed foods, sedentary activities (video-games, computers, TV, etc), and the strong influence of food marketing on our children.

One of the main concerns addressed in the documentary is childhood obesity. The film states that this is the first generation of children who may not out-live their parents. Scary. Children are our future and a direct result of the environment that surrounds them. It is up to us to make a difference in their environment, from the foods they eat, to the activities they engage in; we are responsible for their well-being.

It is time for our Nation to make a change and The Weight of the Nation is a step in the right direction. Schools need to offer longer lunch periods, better quality foods, and more time for recess. The work environment needs to encourage physical activity, provide employees with healthy food options, and nutrition education. Communities need to offer easier access to healthy foods and ways to be more physically active.

We need to come together as a society and put a halt to the ever-growing obesity “epidemic.” We need to stop putting all our focus on things that don’t matter and start taking time for ourselves. Take care of your body and it will take care of you. If mainstream food companies start to see the public looking for MORE whole foods, they may start making a change! If the community sees a NEED for more sidewalks, parks, and playgrounds, they just might do something about it! If there is a strong NEED to get healthy, our society will (eventually) accommodate.

In the meantime, help set the example!!! BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN OTHERS! (Isn’t that how the famous saying goes?)

  • Always take the stairs.
  • Go for walks on your lunch break.
  • Hit the gym after work.
  • Form an after-work exercise group.
  • Work in the yard when you come home!
  • Make time for the grocery store!
  • Cook from home!!
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.
  • Bring healthier foods to potlucks and parties.
  • Pack your child’s lunch with fruits and veggies!!
  • Inform your children about healthy eating and if you don’t know yourself? Get help!
  • Limit sedentary activities to <1-2 hours per day, particularly for children!

Do you have anything to add to the list? How have you tried making a change? Have you seen HBO’s new documentary? What are your thoughts?


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