An Obesity Rant…

I wish I had a magic wand… that I could wave over the country and people would wake up and realize the horrible state of health that we are in. Even though obesity, weight loss and healthy eating are getting media attention, it seems like many take the “well they are not talking about me” approach. This is where we need to wake up! This message is for all of us, we need to constantly stay vigilant. Our food supply and manufacturing industry has changed natural food so much, that we can’t not think about it.

The American Medical Association has now classified obesity as a disease. A disease created by our lifestyle. What does this mean? Just like you can have diabetes and have high blood pressure, you can have obesity. It has to be treated and reversed or the outcome will be poor. There are tools to treat obesity, including nutrition counseling, medications, and surgeries, and pronouncing obesity as a disease is the first step in many to making these tools accessible interventions to patients.

Coinciding with this announcement, my employer, a NPO community hospital in Naples recently announced that health insurance coverage and costs are going to change to reflect the carriers state of health.  Currently there is an employee wellness program, which offers many benefits including nutrition and exercise plans. This change is going to be big for our hospital. Health measures and outcomes will be used to calculate the insurance rate (yet to be released). I just really, really, really hope they know better than to use BMI. Since we are treading new waters, we better not be stuck with old assessment scales which have proved flawed many times over.

At the same time the hospital is moving forward, it is still stuck in it’s old ways. The cafeteria still serves deep fried foods – french fries, jalapeno poppers, mozzarella sticks, and chicken fingers… which I have been told is because the fried food increases employee satisfaction…who cares! Donuts, gigantic muffins, and scrambled eggs that have more grams of carbohydrate than protein, are served daily with breakfast. Talk about mixed messages! I am happy to be part of this change, and am very intrigued on how it will all pan out. I do believe we can take this opportunity to be a healthier and happier place of employment, but it is going to take hard work and a lot of change. It is nice to know we have upper management enrolled as I happen to finish many local running events right next to our CEO…  a great role model for the new initiatives!

Lastly, I want to commend those who are awake and doing something about their health. It is not your fault, I do not think you are lazy and a lot of the blame can be put on our food supply and marketing. So do not be a victim, stay vigilant. Pick natural foods, and don’t get those french fries from the cafeteria. Hopefully, help will continue to become more accessible… now that we created this monstrous disease, we need to get rid of it!

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