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Monday, May 24, 2010

The Obesity Epidemic

Obesity is a problem we often hear discussed in the media and which has many of us concerned. Even though no one in my immediate family has had to deal with this issue personally, we watch others go through it and worry for them and their health. In my work as a medical transcriptionist, so many of the reports I transcribe include doctors' suggestions, orders, and pleas to their patients to lose weight. When they don't, as is too often the case, they end up with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and/or other health problems. Of course, losing weight is not an easy thing for most people to do. And too many people's lives are ruled by their taste buds--and too many don't make room for exercise in their lives. But I think education about the causes of obesity, and first and foremost, becoming committed to a truly healthy lifestyle (and any personal changes required), are two of the most powerful ways that we can combat this epidemic.

"It is reported in the United States alone that obesity is responsible for $90 billion in medical costs and 300,000 premature deaths every year. According to some sources, one third of the adults in our country are obese, and another one third of our population is overweight."1

In fact, I found out a few weeks ago that this isn't only a human problem. Whenever I see overweight/obese pets, I cringe (if you truly love your pet, please don't overfeed it!), but I didn't realize such pets were also subject to human ailments: I saw a neighbor on her way home from the vet, very concerned because she had just found out that her little, beloved (obese) dog has diabetes. Now she even has to give him insulin shots! So, so sad.

I think that in the United States we have become too passive about our own health and rely too much on modern medicine to just "fix" us with a few pills. We only get one body and if we abuse it long enough, it will betray us. We're not invincible, after all. And as a Christian, I also believe that we will one day be accountable to God for how we used the gift of the bodies He gave us.

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