Solutions for our Nation's Obesity (Part 2)

As mentioned in my previous post here, the food industry itself is the leading force in our Nation’s obesity. Another major problem lies within our culture. For decades we have been bombarded with unrealistic imagery of what a male and female body should look like. Magazines, TV, and social media are convincing us that we should look like the models themselves. After self-esteem demise and lost hope, we have retaliated. Now we are seeing an extremely different appearance in our media. Obesity is being represented as the new beautiful.

I see the problem with unrealistic bodies being advertised to us, but I see a bigger problem promoting a much unhealthier physic. We’re not seeing slightly overweight people in magazines, I don’t see that as an issue. We are seeing people who are obese and even morbidly obese as cover models. What message does that send to the public? Obesity is a MAJOR cause of death. It’s quite self explanatory but here is what happens when we load our body with fat:

1.Obesity causes arthritis by deteriorating joint cartilage.

2.Obesity causes heart attack and overall strain on the heart due to increased pressure on the muscle itself and difficulty of the heart to push blood throughout the body.

3.Obesity causes sleep apnea (a temporary pause in breathing while sleeping) due to the pressure added by fat around the neck.

4.Obesity reduces life span. Having to work overtime constantly, organs in the body slowly cease to function. Not only do organs have to work extra, they also have fat accumulations within them that also decrease efficacy.

5.Obesity increases risk of diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

6.Obesity causes Erectile Dysfunction because of arterial plaque that builds up in the penis.

The list goes on and on and on. Obesity is a serious health concern if not one of the greatest of all. The funny thing is, the people behind this movement are trying to tell us that it is actually healthy to be obese. We are making this problem out to be the new beautiful. I’m sure other countries around the world are rolling their eyes at us during this odd development. In 2013, The AMA confirmed that obesity is a disease. If you didn’t already know, our weight is highly dependent on what we eat. The good news is that disease can be reversed and should be treated like any other disease.

Genetics of course play a roll in our weight. That isn’t to say that weight loss is impossible for those who were born overweight. As a Nutritionist, I realize it isn’t easy to lose weight and keep it off. It’s harder for other people but that’s life. Something is always going to be harder for one person than another. Constantly our society is promoting the easy life. Convincing us that we don’t need to change our bad habits to be happy. The ketogenic diet is a perfect example. What if I told you could eat all the meat and dairy that you want and actually lose weight? You would probably join the millions of others that have done this to find out over time it’s not sustainable. You just need to look at this question logically to know that this goes against everything we know about nutritional science. People do it anyway.

The same thing is occurring with the obesity epidemic. We make it look cool and attractive so that we can be comfortable with it. Obesity is partly genetic and partly a food addiction. To keep the amount of weight necessary on your body to be considered obese requires a ridiculous amount of calories to be consumed everyday. Have you ever seen any of the weight loss reality shows? They show their diet when obese and are any of them eating big beautiful salads? Nope. They eat terrible food that is extremely high in calories and become obese because of it. It’s not magic that they drop the weight they do in such little time. It’s a matter of behavior modification.

Obesity is a vicious cycle. Once you’ve hit the obese mark, your ability to exercise reduces drastically. Not only are you at risk of injury to tendons, ligaments, and bone, but you get winded within just a couple of minutes. This leads to less activity and more eating. It would seem odd to help someone with their addiction by making them feel like they are doing the right thing. If I had a heroin addiction and was praised for it, my addiction would only become more prolific because I believe what I am doing is right. There isn’t a difference with obesity. Obviously it is a fragile matter to be talked about and there are appropriate ways to do so. I agree that obesity is shamed much more than any other disease and shaming is by no means the answer. However using mainstream media to make obesity cool? Doesn’t seem like a logical solution to our health epidemic to me.

Jesse Rich