Obese, fat, overweight, pleasingly plump, stout, chunky, flabby, heavy, and hefty.
This is just a few words to describe what is happening to our nation. But recently, there has been a quest for people to get healthy in the media, in politics and everyday conversations around the office water cooler.
The movement actually began in the 1970’s when jogging became America’s new pastime. There were lulls in this craze where people began to hit the fast food chains more than the gym. After 9/11, American’s attitudes began to change once again. Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth” spurred the nation to not only cut back on our wasteful habits but our waistlines as well.
The work ahead of us, as an obese nation, is a difficult climb up a treacherous mountain of bulge, burgers and bad habits. Obesity has lead to many medical problems that have filled emergency rooms and clinics. Some of these are heart disease, diabetes, infertility, liver disease, menstrual disorder, gallstones, hernia, and renal failure just to name a few.
The fact that most Americans are not taking care of their bodies should be no surprise. More than 61% of Americans aged twenty years and older are overweight and one-fourth of adults are obese. An estimated 97 million people have put themselves at risk for poor health due to our poor habits. According to James Rippe, M.D. of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute, ‘Obesity is the one disease that does not require a second opinion.”
Mayo Clinic’s website proclaims that, since 1980, the number of seriously overweight youngsters has doubled and the number of overweight adolescents has tripled. In addition to being a health risk, obesity is associated with approximately 300,000 death a year.
Now that we know that we have a serious problem, what can we do about it? If you live in a small town, it is especially difficult to find the outlets that you need to exercise and therefore get rid of the weight. Most people will tell you that they don’t have time, there is no place to exercise and they cannot afford. But if the places were available and the cost was minimal most would agree that they would do the work to get healthy.
Newt Williams, Sr. has seen both sides of the coin when it comes to being unhealthy. He is not only a local mortician for the past twenty-seven years but has been a wrestler for twelve and is the owner of a gym called ‘The Underground’.
He purposely keeps his memberships low and makes a effort to bring low-income kids in and give them a reason to stay off of the street. His gym not only is designed for locals to work off extra pounds, but he has boxing/wrestling gyms, and weight systems for those who want a different type of workout.
“I believe I have what it takes
There are ways that local governments can help those who cannot afford the fees at exercise venues. First of all, discounts at these exercise facilities, whether it’s a karate class, aerobics, or a gym, could be given. The citizens could bring their utility bill to prove that they are a resident. The city could offer free classes through their local Parks system and more free venues could be built such as parks with hiking and biking trails, skateboarding pits, jogging paths, and basketball/volleyball courts.
Events could be held, as well, to lure people from outside their communities as well as a source of revenue. Basketball runs, relays for charity events, karate exhibitions and volleyball or tennis competitions could generate exercise and fun for the entire family.
Critics might be opposed to such proposals and complain that it would mean cost to the local government’s budgets. Some might say building new parks would be a waste when the space could be used for other businesses or parking lots. Even some might say that offering free programs would mean there would be more cost in the hiring of employees to conduct classes and the space that they might not feel that they could spare.
These issues could be solved with a little teamwork and the willingness to make changes. Hiring of new employees could be resolved by acquiring volunteers. Senior citizen centers and community buildings could be used for these activities and, in warm weather, some classes could be offered in the parks themselves. It would be a risk to construct more buildings for businesses that might or might not succeed. Building more parks attributes to the city’s community awareness and offers other ways ity to make money through not only health-oriented activities but other events such as festivals, car shows, animal adoption benefits and music shows.
The Mayo Clinic announces that benefits of exercise are as follows:
Exercise improves your mood.
Exercise combats chronic disease
Exercise helps you manage your weight
Exercise boosts your energy level
Exercise promotes better sleep.
Exercise can be-gasp-fun!
Mr. Williams stated, “Everyday you should do something, anything. Just get off the couch!