obesity epidemic

16
Nov
This news was posted on Saturday, November 16th, 2013
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The Face of Fitness must change; Then and Now.

When I was growing up, there were no “Fitness Centers”. The YMCA came the closest but was reserved for boys and men as a sort of “Good-ole Boys” club for father-son teams to get fit together before entering the armed forces. There was nothing for women or girls and there was no education about fitness; how much exercise you should get, how to ward off disease using exercise.
Then came celebrity faces on the Wheaties cereal box as if to say, “eat our cereal and you can be an athlete, too.” No mention of the grueling hours of dedicated physical work it took to accomplish the feats of being a winning athlete.
Now Fitness Centers can be found on every street corner, with a range of price points and activities. Yet, our society as a whole is more obese, and seems to have more ailments than at any time in our history. Why?
I have been in the Physical Education and Fitness industry my whole life and I have seen a trend. I don’t believe we are necessarily getting “more obese” as a nation but rather the attention is going to the obesity epidemic, as it should! Make no mistake, there is an epidemic in this country! However, when I was growing up, it was safe to send children outside to play and run off some energy. Now we choose to keep them inside for fear of predatory offenders. Before, I could look up and down the street on any given summer day and see at least 3 – 5 adults outside working in their yard, or playing with their children. Now, besides me, I only see one other person at a time in the neighborhood outside being physically active.
The flip side to this is the regular walkers, joggers and bike-riders that are prevalent now that were never seen years ago. It’s as if there has been a “great divide” in the world of activity. Just as the Middle-class is going away and is dividing itself between the wealthy and the poor, the “generally fit” are dividing themselves between the dedicated athletes and the obese.
It is as if the faces on the box of Wheaties had 2 messages from which you could choose; 1. Be a champion and you will get fame on a box of cereal, or 2. Take a shortcut by eating all the cereal you can find and that will make you a champion.
I have always advocated Moderation in daily living. As much as I applaud those everyday athletes for riding their bikes to work, walking on their lunch hours, and running when they get home, I can’t help but think that they would not have to be a slave to their workout if they just stayed active around their house, working in their yard, and rough-housing with their kids. Likewise, if the obese could gradually motivate themselves to do more and more in their daily lives (and eat whole foods instead of processed convenience food), they would become more generally fit. Gradually we can go back to being an entire society of generally healthy people instead of the extreme polar opposites we have come to be.
It takes work, I know. It’s not easy, I know, but it is possible, and WE NEED IT!