By Kac Young PhD, DCH, ND
The American Medical Association just released a statement that 35.7% of Americans are obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity has been declared a disease by the AMA. However this declaration is hotly debated. Obesity-related conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, are some of the leading causes of preventable death. If it’s preventable, then why is it classified as a disease?
Dr Russell Kridel argues, “It’s more like smoking. Smoking isn’t a disease. Smoking can cause disease such as lung cancer and emphysema in the same way that obesity can lead to diabetes and hypertension. What we’re really talking about here is nomenclature, not philosophy.”
He noted that behavior and dietary choices play a huge part in obesity. “Thirty years ago, we did not have the obesity problem we have now. If you look scientifically at what has changed, our diet has changed. There’s been no change in our genetic structure in the past 30 years.”
“The American Heart Association believes the additional focus is needed on this important risk factor for heart disease and stroke.” The AHA wants to open people’s eyes to the severity of the issues (one in every two deaths is caused by heart disease – which is 90 % preventable) and to demonstrate to people that they possess the power to make decisions which improve heart health and cardio strength.
Whether you believe obesity is a disease or not, consider this: the power to prevent it is in your hands. Obesity is preventable.
Each one of us can choose between a cheese-laden burger and a salad, just as we can choose to buy black shoes or brown. If you’re not making the right choices to support your heart health and stave off obesity, then perhaps you don’t have the right information. With the facts available at the click of a mouse it’s hard to believe someone doesn’t have access to healthy eating information, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and start spreading the word. Take action! Let’s not allow people to die of obesity-related diseases when they can live healthier, happier, longer lives by choosing to eat healthier and by exercising.
What can you do in your community to spread the word about healthy eating? Can you create a health day at school, church or at your community gatherings? What about teaming up with a local nutritionist to teach kids and families how to create healthy meals? Can you make a game of it? Can you create a fund raiser? Can you reach out to lower economic groups and share the wealth of healthy eating knowledge? Can you plant a garden, raise awareness and invite local growers to talk about the value of fresh produce? Start today. Get a group together. Brainstorm ways you can affect your community’s health for the better. You may actually save some lives and how great would that feel?
– Kac Young, a former television director and producer, has earned a Ph.D. in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. In the cook book sound nutritional advice is followed by traditional recipes that have been turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make and everyone will love.