YOU’RE NOT ALONE

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Although the purpose of my blog site is to help people achieve a better quality of HEALTH and LIFE, it is often comforting to know those of you falling short are not alone. It must be recognized this “comforting,” however, is simply an emotional state of mind; not physical state of being. Understanding that many people experience “UNHEALTHY LIVING” doesn’t help incentivize the creation of an ACTION PLAN to  REALISTICALLY overcome this obstacle. We already know without the right MINDSET, most action plans fail. The following information shows two of these obstacles (nutrition and exercise) interfering with successful LONG TERM solutions (when the MINDSET isn’t fully committed to self improvement.)

FEEL FREE TO SCROLL THROUGH THE FOLLOWING BULLET POINTS

President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition

  • Only one in three children are physically active every day.

  • More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth.

Nutrition

  • Typical American diets exceed the recommended intake levels or limits in four categories: calories from solid fats and added sugars; refined grains; sodium; and saturated fat.

  • Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products, and oils.

  • Food available for consumption increased in all major food categories from 1970 to 2008. Average daily calories per person in the marketplace increased approximately 600 calories.

  • Since the 1970s, the number of fast food restaurants has more than doubled.

  • Empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40% of total daily calories for 2–18 year olds.

Obesity

Obesity Then and Now

  • Prevalence of obesity for children ages 2 to 5 years – DOUBLED

    • Early 1970s: 5%

    • 2007-08: 10%

  • Prevalence of obesity for children ages 6 to 11 years – QUADRUPLED

    • Early 1970s: 4%

    • 2007-08: 20%

  • Prevalence of obesity for children ages 12 to 19 years – TRIPLED

    • Early 1970s: 6%

    • 2007-08: 18%

  • Percentage of obese adults – DOUBLED

    • Early 1970s: 15%

    • 2007-08: 34%

  • States with an adult obesity prevalence rate of more than 25%:

    • Early 1970s: Zero

    • 2007-08: 32%

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This trajectory will place a financial and emotional burden on EVERYONE in the United States (and worldwide for that matter;) not just those individuals part of these statistical numbers. We already spend nearly twice as much money per capita on health care than EVERY OTHER developed nation while our nation’s health status continues to worsen. Throwing more money at this problem in the same manner as we’ve done in the past is an unlikely solution (although politically offers elite individuals a platform to claim concern for the “suffering.”)

Without anyone stepping up and offering real choices to create positive changes, I offer two options to begin the process for everyone. The two greatest incentives causing Lifestyle Changes are achieved through either:

PAIN or PLEASURE.

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Since the poor have the highest incidence of compromised health, tax dollars should be invested to teach the difficult choices that need to be made in order to increase the chances of healthy living. Every effort should be made to provide adequate access to quality food, exercise and the social resources needed to improve their quality of life and health. Those, however, CHOOSING to avoid these tools must lose a certain amount of assistance (PAIN) to help incentivize them to see the BIGGER PICTURE including greater self worth and personal responsibilities to THEMSELVES and society. It is my opinion the poor would like the same opportunity to achieve upward mobility to improve their lives, rather than relying on a system designed to maintain their poor status and poor access to resources providing limited to NO opportunity for self improvement. Providing legitimate opportunity to the poor gives them real access to improving their health while helping reduce the financial responsibilities the rest of the population faces.

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Those in the middle and upper class with adequate resources CHOOSING to live an unhealthy lifestyle must also be incentivized to recognize greater self worth and self responsibility. They too, should have ongoing access to professional services to help maintain a positive direction leading to increased chances for healthier outcomes. If they CHOOSE an unhealthy lifestyle, their premiums for health care should reflect their choices (PAIN.) It is unreasonable to knowingly and willfully add to a financial burden and expect the rest of the population to pick up the tab.

As controversial as these (partial) solutions may be, I challenge everyone to offer a better, more compassionate solution to a problem we are unlikely to agree upon let alone “LIKE.” I believe we can all agree that doing NOTHING will result in the continued unnecessary destruction of human life while increasing each person’s financial obligation which already has exceeded acceptable limits.

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Don’t forget that PLEASURE (achieving quality health) is the other  available option. Unfortunately, most Americans are not incentivized by achieving “quality health.” We have simply reached a point where we can no longer do what we want and expect our neighbors to fund our CHOSEN unhealthy lifestyle.

I welcome constructive criticism, however, respectfully request that a SOLUTION accompany the criticism. It is easy in life to say, “that won’t work.” I am turning to our community seeking POSITIVE POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS; not NEGATIVE FAILING ATTITUDES.

IT’S TIME FOR CHANGE!

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22 comments

  1. It might help if we didn’t throw away so much. I was at a Costco the other day and they were throwing away dozens of their large variety fruit packs (pineapple, melon, strawberry, etc) because of “shelf life requirements”.
    There has to be a middle-ground somewhere – doesn’t there? If the store is going to write the stuff off as a loss, give them the opening to GIVE it away a couple days before they will have to THROW it away.
    … just my 2 cents.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great suggestion. These companies will continue to get a “write off” if they donate their goods. Not quite sure why they choose to wait and discard the products.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. currently I believe that’s their only option if they want the write-off.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t agree entirely on this one as though the premise is good and you are right it is a matter of personal choice, I feel it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. I’d like the food manufacturers to also take some of the blame (most of it in fact). Manufacturers are getting rich lacing “food” products with things they know to be highly addictive (sugar for a prime example). A person might be grossly fat but actually suffering from a lack of nutrition. People are being knowingly conned by advertising etc. I see many “food” manufacturers as little better than drug dealers with as little concern for their customers. I’d like to see food warnings and taxes on unhealthy products like with cigarettes (the taxes going to medical care). Probably not going to happen but it would seem more just.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your suggestion regarding the “unhealthy food tax” on food products manufactured without substantive nutrition. On the other hand, no one is forcing people to buy these foods. It might make even more sense to charge the consumer an extra fee (as well) to purchase these types of foods. These extra fees could help proportionately reduce the private health insurance premiums policy holder’s pay based on their compliance with lifestyle modifications making the cost of health care more reasonable.

      As I mentioned in the post, my suggestion was only a PARTIAL solution that would certainly need to be expanded. I believe it helps to make ALL CONSUMERS (rich and poor) more accountable while offering additional quality resources to help people understand what it takes to become more compliant ; a good forward step needed to initiate change.

      Thank you for your constructive (and honest) feedback. It is the co-mingling of ideas that ultimately leads to procedural changes designed to improve the health of our nations.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed, the issue has many facets. Ultimately as you said we make our own choices if people refused to buy substandard/dangerous food manufacturers would have to change. It requires a large mind shift on both sides. Keep up the good work!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Those stats are overwhelming.

    Major change will have to come through education. Educating adults on how to feed their children and the eating/activity habits they need to teach their children.

    I refuse to blame the food manufacturers or fast food restaurants. No one is holding a gun to our heads forcing us to eat that garbage.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I actually like the idea of charging an “unhealthy food tax” similar to the taxes added to cigarettes. No one is forcing people to smoke either. By implementing a CONSISTENT FEE on unhealthy products consumers CHOOSE to purchase, it will help send a message to the public. The revenues can also be applied to lower the cost of health care for those people demonstrating responsible behavior.

      I don’t blame the food manufacturers or the fast food industry for the current health care crisis. This doesn’t mean, however, that willful manufacturing of cheap unhealthy products known to cause health complications shouldn’t pay a fee for the “privilege” of manufacturing and distributing these damaging products. In addition, I think the CONSUMER should pay an additional fee as well to purchase these products. This make EVERYONE more accountable.

      Like

  4. It is my opinion the poor would like the same opportunity to achieve upward mobility to improve their lives, rather than relying on a system designed to maintain their poor status and poor access to resources providing limited to NO opportunity for self improvement. Providing legitimate opportunity to the poor gives them real access to improving their health while helping reduce the financial responsibilities the rest of the population faces.

    Absolutely. I think we need to think of this in global terms as well. We will never solve all the problems, but we can make inroads. Awareness is the first step. Making proper choices ourselves is probably the next. Beyond that, there are many people suffering from limited options.

    Great post, Jonathan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tanya. Keeping the post to a reasonable length while attempting to identify a problem AND pose a solution is difficult when dealing with the magnitude of this issue. My recommendation was simply ONE IDEA helping to make the poor, the middle class, the wealthy, the manufacturers and the distributors all more ACCOUNTABLE while providing the necessary financial and social resources to move this problem in a better direction. As you stated, “we can make inroads,” but we need ACTION PLANS. At this time, few are willing to lay out details, and even fewer are willing to support changes. My question remains, “what is the MAGIC NUMBER of lives that must be destroyed before we change the course we’re following?”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was never physically active as a kid. But now I realise its importance. Great post. It was literally an eye-opener.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is a major reason I believe REAL change for improved health can only occur if it begins with our children and the patterns they develop while they’re young.

      Like

      1. Very true. I have been thinking of putting my daughter in some sport to to enhance her physical activities.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It would benefit her physical health as well as create social interaction with other children. Developing social skills (social interaction) is an important part of health we often take for granted.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. As always a post that makes us really think and the statistics about obesity were really shocking!

    Like

    1. If I asked the average American To rank on a scale of 1-10 (10 representing “THE WORST” value) how unhealthy they believed our population in the United States was, I believe most people would rank it somewhere around a 3/10. When we see people in the hospital we visualize “unhealthy.” When we look at our neighbors and our friends, we generally see average people often appearing the same as us. In general, we don’t view ourselves unhealthy, so our view of the world simulates the way we view ourselves. Now, if I defined good health as:
      1. Not requiring any prescription medications
      2. Maintaining a beneficial weight
      3. Maintaining a beneficial body mass composition (lean muscle to fat ratio)
      4. Following a nutrition plan on a REGULAR BASIS that provides the nutrients to optimize the efficiency and function of the body.
      5. Achieving restful sleep DAILY to allow the body to repair itself from the harmful affects of daily living.

      Do you think you might view the health of our population differently if these parameters were used to qualify what good health requires? We tend to use our “EYES” to measure health. In the hospital we SEE UNHEALTHY; outside the hospital we SEE a false assumption of what HEALTHY appears to be. When you apply tangible parameters like the ones I mentioned, you get an OBJECTIVE method to determine whether a person is healthy or not. Remember, most of us believe SYMPTOMS are necessary for sub par health to exist. This is NOT TRUE!

      Like

  7. I wonder what additional ideas might help people choose a healthier lifestyle. My father rose every morning at 4:30 before work and went to the local YMCA to swim laps. How extraordinary! He was a powerful role model for me and my brother. We both swam competitively through college. We both run and exercise and occasionally swim as adults. We show up ten minutes early to EVERYTHING as a result to being required to arrive before swim practice ten minutes early. It’s a habit I developed early and practiced often. I’m grateful I can pull from these habits, which help me override what might be painful or inconvenient. Not everyone enjoys such conditioning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Creating role models is important. If parents are unable or unwilling to fill this role, life’s natural mentors can provide direction to help people motivate THEMSELVES. It is the constant reinforcement of POSITIVE activity and energy that produces the strength needed to circumvent the typical American lifestyle often leading to self destruction.

      Your story helps reinforce my belief that society can follow a better more meaningful path than the current course we follow.

      Thank you for sharing this story. When I write these messages, they are often interpreted from a sterile clinical doctor’s perspective; when people read stories like yours, they experience the EMOTIONAL reality as well as the physical benefits. Your words and personal experiences add credibility to these messages for the world to see.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your blog. I’m really enjoying it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree that role models are very important. I didn’t have quite the same role model situation as Susan had growing up. My parents hardly knew anything (and still don’t) about nutrition and it definitely affected my adolescence. Thankfully, I found information on my own and was able to correct my horrible “TV dinner” eating habits accordingly.
        I have thought similarly to you in the past, that there should be some sort of unhealthy tax for those who can afford it and are simply ignoring their own health, waiting for others to “pick up the tab”, as you said. But I also think that children need to be better educated in the areas of nutrition, exercise and the like. It should be drilled into them as much as the useless pythagorean theorem. Not to sound too cliche, but they are our future.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. So So So true!! I have previously written the solution to our obesity epidemic relies in our ability to teach children a REALISTIC lifestyle that promotes healthy outcomes. This needs to be incorporated into our school system from K-12 grades. It may not guarantee compliance, but it will at least provide KNOWLEDGE about what it takes if future health concerns require modifications. There are creative ways to get children motivated and involved in their own health maintenance. Until adults are willing to accept responsibility for preventing our children from destroying their health and (ultimately) lives, this problem will continue to grow at epidemic proportion.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on disue.

    Liked by 1 person

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