Thursday, October 02, 2008

I'm standing, really, really high, up on my soapbox...

Japan is starting to measure waist-lines of folks between the ages of 40 and 74 who come in for their annual physical. According to the article ("Caught in THE Middle") I read this morning in the Knoxville News Sentinel, the waist-line limit for men is 33.5 inches and 35.4 inches for women. Then, should the individual need assistance (read: "mandatory weight loss") they will be given 3 months to lose the weight, and, if after that time they are still not meeting the guidelines, they may be allowed up to 6 months of dietary advice from their doctors. My friend "G" called this brief article to my attention, and it intrigued me - it started me thinking (scary!). (Please remember that everything I write here is only MY thoughts and opinions - I am not trying to make them yours...) In today's society (speaking here mostly of America, but the weight-issue is definitely a world-wide problem) obesity is sort of the norm now. I don't know statistics, but I know that there are many, many more people the world over who suffer from being overweight, either slightly, or morbidly. If a corporation, or a local government, or whatever, decided to include such guidelines (as Japan has) in their health care options, I think it would be a good idea - to an extent. I don't think that anyone (government, corporate entity etc...) should say, "Everyone should weigh this much...and if you go over it, you lose whatever health care benefits you have until your weight is back within limits." I do think that if "they" gave more strict guidelines, or just guided folks toward more healthy living in the first place... Well - basically I think that most folks who struggle with their weight just need someone to help them. Someone to ask questions to, someone to provide a shoulder to cry on when they slip up and then help them get back on their feet, someone to actually give a rat's backside about that individual person rather than their entire clientele as a whole - the money factor. I know that I struggle. I know how many times I've tried and failed, and how bad I feel about myself mentally and physically after that failure. It's tough to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again (la de dah). I'm not making light of it. I may not be morbidly obese, but I know I am overweight (according to my doctor and according to all the research I've done on Body Mass Indexes and Total Body Fat) and I know how badly I just want to feel comfortable in my clothes again. How many overweight folks actually get the care they need, physically, mentally and emotionally, to deal with their weight? Probably very few. Then there are the obese children. This is really what scares me. Parents raising children who they KNOW are overweight, but really do nothing to change it. They KNOW they should be feeding their kids healthier food, making them get up off their butts and go to that wonderful place called "Outside" or "Backyard." These parents KNOW their kids are struggling physically, but can they grasp how their children are struggling emotionally? That the other kids at school probably tease their child mercilessly? That their child probably feels like no one is doing ANYTHING to help? Can those overweight children really make their own decisions about dieting and healthy living? Maybe some can, but in general, I'd wager they cannot. Do the parents of these poor, obese children, make the right choices for themselves? Again, probably not; and this is the reason why their kids are overweight, too. Children are witnessing their parents eating habits and simply copying them. I know as a parent I cannot imagine letting my Kiddo or Little Bit fall into the overweight or obese categories before they're old enough to make the right dietary decisions for themselves. This is why they don't get candy, they don't eat constantly all day, they snack on healthy things (OK...are Goldfish really healthy?), they don't drink soda, they get some juice, but it's always watered down so to reduce the sugar. They brush their teeth. They get their baths, and their vitamins. I know Hubby and I try very, very hard to make sure that our kids are healthy. I cannot imaging doing nothing for my kids while they are still too young to make their own decisions. I don't think that some parents even know or realize that their kids are struggling because these parents are so used to the overweight lifestyle, they don't see it the same way a "healthy" parent sees is. Their overweight child is just an extension of themselves... OK - I'm absolutely positive that there are many parents who know all about the weight their young children are struggling with and are also very actively trying to help them. I know that there are parents who have done absolutely everything in their power to not only lose the weight themselves, but set a good example for their children. I certainly don't think that it's just laziness. But, what if there were a bigger, stronger motivating factor to keep yourself within a healthy weight range? There are statistics that say "if you are so tall than your healthy weight should be such and such..." Right? Bear with me. What if you risked losing your job or your health care or some other necessary thing if your weight went above your individual healthy limit? What kind of motivation would that be for you. If you knew that your income would stop if you went over 180lbs (just a number I grabbed out of thin air) would you pay more attention to your diet? Would you exercise more? What would you do? How would your life change? How would you change the lives of those around you...and specifically your children? Has anyone seen Wall-E - the animated movie? If so, you'll know what I mean when I say that we certainly don't want to end up like that in 700 years. 'Nuff Said. Stepping down now. Thanks for bearing with me. I think, maybe, I've gotten this out of my system. Sheesh! Where did THAT all come from? Thanks "G!" TTFN JMS

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