Is Getting Healthy a Hopeless Cause for Adults?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

Last week while I was watching our local morning news show, one of the country’s leading pioneers of fitness, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, was giving an interview regarding the rise in childhood obesity, especially here in Texas. While I applaud his effort, I was taken aback when he stated he was giving up on trying to change adults, therefore, he was now focusing his attention on the next generation, our kids.

At first I was a tad angry--here was the “Father of Aerobics” stating he was giving up the fight for adults to get healthy. How could he? After all he was the first to coin the term aerobics back in the late 1960s. He was the one who led the crusade to get us all off the couch and moving and now he was abandoning the cause he worked so tirelessly over the years to change.

But I must admit, the more I thought about this, the more I believe Dr. Cooper may be on to something. He and countless other health and fitness professionals have given the world the knowledge and the tools for well over 40 years now on how to get fit and healthy, and it is up to us, as adults, to implement these ideas into action. Maybe he believes that before this next generation gets set in their ways, he can help influence them much earlier than he could with adults.

We must all learn to accept the obstacles of losing weight and getting fit in a society riddled with fast food restaurants on almost every corner and where every day conveniences keep us from getting in the activity we need. We need to demand more from our schools to get physical education reinstated and healthier food options in the cafeterias. We, as adults, need to be role models for our children so they can see how it is to live a healthy life. We have to be willing to put as much energy into getting fit as we do in all other aspects of our lives. If we fail to take action now, we will all pay the price in the future. This is once again where SparkPeople comes into play. The tools are available, it is up to each and every one of us to use them.

I am pleased to hear Dr. Cooper hasn’t given up entirely on wanting to change the country’s health and fitness direction. I think by tackling our kids and their weight issues, parents will be forced to change, too, therefore, this will be a win, win situation for everyone. And maybe this is just another approach to get us ALL to change.

Even so, I am not willing to abandon the ship. It took me 43 years to finally learn the concept that diets do not and will not work. It is up to me to decide I deserve to be healthy, however, I am glad to know SparkPeople is crusading to get the world fit and healthy even if it is one person at a time!

Do you believe getting the world fit is a hopeless cause? Are you willing to commit or recommit yourself to being healthy? Will you commit yourself to getting your kids healthy?

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  • 66
    People can change, I'm proof. I spent 10 years (maybe more) getting fat, ignoring or getting irregular exercise, eating a horrible diet, drinking heavily, and smoking like a chimney. I haven't shed all these bad habits, but I have shed 115 lbs, and do all the bad stuff in much more moderation than I used to. I wouldn't have listened to anyone before, it took my personal aha moment.

    So, honestly, one guy changing his focus to children doesn't bother me. Since this generation is the first not expected to live longer than their parents - it's probably a good thing. There are plenty of resources out there for people of all ages, they just have to have their aha moments and decide it's something they're willing to do. - 2/12/2009   11:08:19 AM
  • 65
    One of the biggest reasons why my husband and I decided to have gastric bypass was that we wanted to be around to see our kids finish growing up. We weren't exactly setting good examples for our kids around food, and that made me feel VERY guilty. Now, I am able to talk about nutrition and health with my kids, and insist that they FUEL their bodies, not just feed themselves. I put a moratorium on dieting until the child has finished growing, because until then, I don't think dieting is a healthy thing. Once my oldest (now 17) finished growing, she wanted to diet, but I told her, "You need to EAT HEALTHY, get enough protein every day, and eat food that is as close to its original source (like veggies and fruit instead of processed foods) as possible." She read a book that turned her off of meat, so she decided to go vegetarian (pescetarian, actually, as she still eats fish). I insisted that she track her protein and her vitamins, as it is VITAL that she keep herself healthy. She has been doing that on SparkPeople! And she is doing great.

    My other three kids are learning about portion control and are great about trying new recipes and foods. They are good sports. I think when they stop growing, they will already have healthier ways of eating than my oldest did. I just hope that my husband and I will continue to Walk the Talk and be good examples for our kids! - 2/12/2009   11:00:10 AM
    People can change -- when they honestly put their minds, bodies, and spirits (with God's help) to the task. The major problem is that many people want the benefits without actually doing the work.

    As for physical education in the schools, I actually think that the way it is run can be a turn-off for many kids. I was a scrawny kid who was pretty active, but I hated P.E. after they introduced competitive sports, which meant that a small child was bullied! Some competitive sports are fine for those of at least average size, but other activities, not involving competition would probably be more enjoyable for those who are not average. I know that in high school, my P. E. class of choice was modern dance. - 2/12/2009   10:35:10 AM
    About 10 years ago (and 20 lbs lighter), I gave up. I kept telling myself, that I was tired of the "fight". I had lost my "career" because the battle was bigger than me. But during the past 10 years, I have watched my nieces and nephews get bigger and bigger and more overweight. My oldest niece - age 24, is a beautiful young woman who is now in the seriously obese category of the BMI chart. Her parents gave up the battle a long time ago. I am hoping that by getting back into the fight - like I have in the last year, that I can show them that it can be done. I am trying to set the example for a family that keeps getting bigger and bigger with each generation. - 2/12/2009   9:52:02 AM
  • 62
    I saw you're never too old to learn something new. You can so teach an old dog new tricks.

    While I appreciate that some people may be set in their ways, people can still make worthwhile changes to their health. I think the problem is that too many people consider good health to be an all or nothing issue.

    That's just not true. Any small change is worthwhile. Shoot, if people can stop smoking late in age, then anything is possible.

    So, getting healthy isn't hopeless. But, I do think people should be realistic.

    - 2/12/2009   9:06:57 AM
  • 61
    I was thinking about this recently - I'm working on a mosaic mural with my students, and it means standing outside at our wall putting up concrete and tile for the class period, plus the first class assists with carrying all the supplies up to the wall, and the last class helps carry buckets down to the sink and put away the other supplies. In every class, there are students who complain about how tired they are, it's too much work, can't they sit down, why can't they work from a chair. The first class is 90 minutes, but with all the set up (plus mixing the concrete each day), they actually work at the wall for maybe 50 minutes. The other classes are all 45 minutes. And the kids (middle school) are all exhausted.

    Yet I'M there for the entire 3 hours, non-stop, plus I do all the washing up after class, which takes another hour or so. And some days, if the weather is decent and we have extra concrete to cover, I'll work through the three lunch periods.

    So how can I, as a middle-aged overweight but fit person, work for 4 hours or so, and these early teenagers can't???????

    I tell them I'm 4 times their age, and they need to get in shape - most of them are in good weight ranges, but they have zero stamina!

    So I'm starting to think of the project as having a physical fitness component, too. - 2/12/2009   9:01:27 AM
  • 60
    It took me 50 years to get fit, so yes it can be done, but globally, it probably isn't the answer. I watch a very fascinating but disturbing show on the learning channel last weekend. I had several segments that followed what they termed "super obese" patients. "Super obese" was defined as those whose fat and body weight impared their mobility. Some were bed bound and weighed as much as 750 pounds. Others walked with difficulty and weighed only 300 pounds. Most of them ending up dying of causes related to their body composition and/or lack of mobility. None of them were candidates for weight loss surgery because they weren't healthy enough (strictly due to their obesity) to survive the surgery. None of them were able to exercise due to the mobility issues their obesity caused. Most of them were young (under 40). All of them were in a residential nursing home in Ohio that specializes in primarily hospice care for the "terminally obese".

    Now granted, "super obese" may be the extreme and not the norm. But obesity has pretty much become the norm. I cannot help but think if parents, doctors, and educators had paid more attention when these people were growing up, their lives would have been very different. They might never have become obese, let alone "super obese". It does seem to support the school of thought that at some point (which can vary by individual) it is too late. Obesity had already taken them beyond the point of recovery, either through traditional diet and exercise, medication, or sugery. - 2/12/2009   8:54:27 AM
    We are changing the face of the world right here..through this web day at a time, one step at a bite at a time.....millions of us. - 2/12/2009   8:45:13 AM
  • 58
    Not a hopeless cause...nothing's hopeless. I'm amazed at how much more active I've become since joining SP. I'm doing the 10-minute workouts, adding 10-minutes "marches" at least three times a day and I AM A CONFIRMED COUCH POTATO. (actually it's computer potato). So, if it can get me motivated, SP can do it for anyone. Motivation is the key and we all hit that wall at different times along the journey.
    - 2/12/2009   8:18:19 AM
    I don't think you can change ALL adult society; you have to admit there is a problem before you can solve it and then be willing to make the change. I do think being pro-active with our kids is very important. Setting a good example is one of the main reasons why I lost my weight. Our kids eat lot's of fruit and vegis and almost never get soda or candy/cookies. They are encouraged to be active (swimming, cycling gymnastics etc.) and my hubby who is an ultra skinny junk food junkie has to contain his bad eating untill after the kids are in bed. I do think we need to be aware that there are genetic factors and we can't all be model perfect and we need to be carefull with pushing too hard. My teenage daughter is under so much pressure at school to be "perfect" that with her we have to watch that she actually eats. Also, why do we have to foto shop all the model/ movie star pics. It presents an unrealistic ideal for the young. - 2/12/2009   7:32:31 AM
  • 56
    I think it is so important to teach children healthy habits early in their development. I totally agree with "the concept that diets do not and will not work". For me the only thing that gave me long term results in my health, and has kept off the 165 pounds that I lost is Intuitive Eating. Eating. Which for me is eating whatever I want mindfully, when I am truly physically hungry, and stopping when I am satisfied. Also, focusing on improving my health rather than only being obsessed with weight loss has been instrumental in my wellness. Both of these concepts are main keys to my weight loss success. I finally decided to take care of myself, and treat myself better by eating well and moving my body because I enjoyed how it made me feel rather than 'because I just had to get this weight off' or only focusing on the visible results of my efforts. I also stopped punishing myself for eating 'good or 'bad' foods or overeating. I focused on what portions and what foods made me feel good and improved my health. Once it clicked in that it was not about 'feeling the burn' or how 'bad' I had been so I restricted my food intake for the next week- it became much easier. Finally I felt peace with my body and food. The weight loss was just a super duper side bonus.

    De Anna - 2/12/2009   7:19:06 AM
  • 55
    To TEACH a child is to change a life forever.....
    Obviously the adults / parents of our nation (as a whole) are not teaching healthy lifestyle habits or we wouldn't see the huge onset of morbid obesity in childhood...something totally unheard of just a few years back - it used to take years and years of bad habits to become morbidly obese (in excess of 100# overweight)

    Bravo, Dr. Cooper.....there is hope. Children aren't as stubborn as adults in holding on to their/our bad habits.

    T. - 2/12/2009   6:30:04 AM
  • 54
    Dr Cooper has given a tremendous gift to all of us adults already, in his life's work to date. If he is now focusing on the next generation, what is wrong with that? "All" we adults must do is implement the lessons he (and others) have already given us. Sites like SP are a tremendous help in making that happen! - 2/12/2009   6:13:52 AM
  • 53
    I really like Dr Cooper and have for decades. He preached about the importance of being fit and aerobic exercise when few others were. I listened to his interview and he doesn't say that he has given up - he says that he's "about" given up on adults. He is changing his focus to kids because of alarming new numbers showing the rising trend of obesity on kids - truly alarming and entirely preventable. It sounds like his big push will be to get regular PE back into schools and to focus on lunchroom nutrition. Sounds like good things to work on to me - I wish him every success! - 2/12/2009   3:35:20 AM
  • 52
    It's important that children learn nutrition and good healthy habits. When I suddenly had to pull myself together and learn all this (still learning), I have never had to think so hard about eating before! Diet balance, exercising, even maintaining stress levels. Children may scoff but it is only because the adults are not talking and walking it. The habits are generational, it's gotta start somewhere and it's for the kids. - 2/12/2009   12:38:18 AM
  • 51
    This entire web site and community is proof that adults can change. I think the best way to help your kids is to live a fit and healthy lifestyle. - 2/11/2009   10:57:42 PM
  • 50
    everything has changed so much since we were kids, and i think our childrens children will also have a tough time if they are following in their parents footsteps, just considering the child obesity rate now. - 2/11/2009   10:39:10 PM
  • 49
    I hate to be the pessimist but planning to "get the world fit" sounds a little like hoping for world peace: a wonderful ideal, but probably not too likely. While I certainly don't think giving up on adults all together should be in the game plan (I didn't listen to any advice about how to be healthy until I was almost 20) I agree that we need to teach healthy habits to kids young. I think most kids get one of two messages. 1) you're perfect just the way you are no matter what or 2) the only way to be pretty and skinny is to starve yourself like girls in magazines.
    We need to teach kids what a healthy lifestyle means and get them in the habit of living one so when they become adults we will have a nation of healthy adults. - 2/11/2009   10:14:39 PM
  • 48
    No, I don't believe it's hopeless, nor do I believe he thinks it is. But we do need to teach kids how to eat right and exercise, and to eat right and exercise right along with them, setting a good example! - 2/11/2009   10:13:00 PM
  • 47
    I think Dr. Cooper is doing the right thing by focusing on children. Thanks to the path he charted, there are lots of opportunities out there for we adults to get with the program. For us, it's a matter of discipline and want. Do we want good health bad enough to change bad health habits, and summon the discipline to do what we know is best? - 2/11/2009   10:11:06 PM
  • 46
    i can attribute my love for aerobics to taking it in high school and throughout college. i'm not as fit as i should be now, mostly due to circumstances, but i grew up with the healthy food etc and am happy to report all of my children are fit and healthy! - 2/11/2009   9:28:05 PM
  • 45
    The only one I have to worry about giving up on me - is ME!
    Having said that - the man has lead the horse to the water, he cannot make it drink ... kids are our future and they really should be the focus now, before it is too late! - 2/11/2009   8:54:18 PM
  • DAWNB14
    To say Dr. Cooper hasn't figured out the right approach to adults is downright silly. The adults who are refusing to take responsibility for their own health are the ones he is giving up on, which includes the vast majority of our population. People want a get fit quick fix, and don't want to dedicate the time and effort it takes. I don't like saying this, but most adults are truly lazy. What a horrible example they are for our younger generation. It's no wonder this generation will have a life expectancy shorter than their parents and grandparents. - 2/11/2009   8:40:38 PM
  • 43
    I no longer have kids at home, but I'm proud to say both are aware of the importance of being healthy. My son is better than I am about reading lables and getting into the details of what he is eating - I very rarely read lables, but then again I cook our meals from scratch, we rarely eat "boxed" anything. My daughter is not so pro-active, and I really worry about my granddaughter not learning the importance of eating good food. She is a picky eater and seems to like good food, she loves raw vegtables and she has been brought up on mizo & tofu soup. But her Dad is a junk food junky and eats a lot of candy - are you ready for this AT NITE! Things really need to turn around in the home, and parents need to be involved, not only in what their kids eat, they need to ensure that their kids are participating in physical exercise...I'm appauled at what parents will do to discourage kids from their PE class! I work in a department (8,000) where much of our working force, women and men are obese. I can only imagine that the offspring are going down the same wrong path with regards to their health, who is setting the example here? I work 7 days a week and have the same things going on as other people do but I take the time to fix my DH and I good and healthy food, it's an option many just choose not to do, they would rather eat that big fat juicy hamburger and fries or read something off a box than do the right thing for themselves, and for their families! We can only continue to spread the Spark where ever possible and be an example of healthy living! - 2/11/2009   6:08:57 PM
  • 42
    This angered me! It took me 22 YEARS to put the pieces together, and now, thanks in large part to Spak, I am losing weight and becoming fit! To hear a person who has made it his career to help people lose weight has given up even trying... ARRRGGGHHH!

    We teach our kids to keep trying, to battle on despite the difficulties, and here is one who wants to stand in front of them as a role model??? He's a quitter, plain and simple!

    Kids have been learning about diet, nutrition, and exercise in schools for at least the past 20-30 years... but if the message isn't implemented at home, it's falling on deaf ears. PARENTS have the responsibility, no matter how difficult, of raising their children. PARENTS are the ones filling the kitchen cupboards with junk food, making fast food a regular part of meals, and not encouraging exercise as a family activity. We need to step up to the plate, and start making small changes today, if we are going to make a difference in the lives of our children, and ourselves.

    It's tough being a parent... even tougher to be a good parent... but it is not impossible! - 2/11/2009   6:02:58 PM
  • 41
    Getting healthy is not a hopeless cause but making it all about losing weight can make it so. Focusing on becoming fit and healthy should be the priority. Weight loss is a happy consequence if it is needed. - 2/11/2009   5:21:32 PM
  • 40
    You are forgetting one thing, until you decide to lose the weight there is no amount of talking that will make you do it. You have to decide that you want to lose this weight and then do it. Remember how you talk to your children and keep repeating yourself, that is the way with talking about losing weight for the adult too. Until you decide to lose it, it won't happen. - 2/11/2009   4:52:15 PM
  • __IZZA__
    I do not think it is a hopeless case. I think I have a healthy lifestyle and just by living this way I affect other people near me to live more healthy as well so you do not need to do much to influence others. If I ever get kids I will definetley involve them in sports and activety and provide them good food. - 2/11/2009   4:51:12 PM
  • 38
    Maybe Dr. Cooper just hasn't figured out the right approach for adults. Maybe he should consult with Sparkguy. There are plenty of adults participating in this site and losing a lot of weight, and providing good role models for their kids and grandkids. - 2/11/2009   4:27:51 PM
  • 37
    We have to be responsible for ourselves - the world we live in makes it very difficult to be healthy, but we have to get past the fast food places, convenience foods, and crappy food disguised as healthy options. One way to do this is to simply our lives, spend less time with technology, cook from scratch, say no to some of the many many social obligations we all have and start to move! - 2/11/2009   4:20:09 PM
  • 36
    I can understand his frustration. I've learned to enjoy exercise and want to share it with people, but you can't make other people want it. They have to get there themselves. Pretty much everyone who hears that I started running moan about how much they hate exercise. All I can do is tell them my experience and hope that they find their own motivation. - 2/11/2009   4:01:26 PM
  • 35
    It really doesn't matter whether or not "Getting Healthy is a Lost Cause for Adults." What matters is whether this adult is getting healthy, and he most certainly is.

    One of the most powerful agents of change that we control is the example we set. I am lucky enough to have a father who has always modeled discipline in exercise and weight control. Now, in my late 40s I am getting my own discipline under control and am experiencing much success so far.

    The best thing I can do is get my act together first, then be a role model and resource for those in my circle of influence: my family, friends and co-workers.

    People naturally want to eat well, move and be healthy. The only thing that gets in the way is mis-information, feelings of despair and an addiction-maintaining food industry. As soon as people see some hope in the form of people such as us Sparkers, they will come around soon enough. - 2/11/2009   3:55:57 PM
  • 34
    I ate everything and drink everything that wasn't health, didn't have a weight problem, then I turned 40 and !!!!!!!!!! But, I have three grandchildren and I worry about there health because, I don't want them to have high blood pressure like me so now is the time to start for them. - 2/11/2009   3:51:04 PM
  • 33
    I watched the video clip and I don't see him giving up? I think after all these years of helping so many people he is giving up FOCUS on adults and thinks the extremely high obesity rate in the children of this generation needs his help and focus more then adults who he has been treating for all this time but i did not hear him giving up. Which I completely agree with Dr. Cooper focus needs to be on the children of this generation not getting nutritious food and activity. It's getting worse and nobody seems to want to be realistic about it. Growing up I was taught to eat 3x a day, we could also have 2 snacks. Breakfast was typically hot or cold cereal with a glass of milk or juice most of the time. Fruit for snacks. Lunch was bad school food. Dinner was some kind of protein/grain and at least 2 veges if not more. We got to eat out maybe once a week. Children now a days are not getting the options that I and most of the generations before me had growing up (healthy food), PE in school, walking to and from school or anywhere, meals at home. Home grown fruits and vegetables. I was given plenty of healthy food options every day and plenty of activity growing up. Their are stagering amounts of children who have little to no activity (watching tv or videos more and more) at home or at school sitting in a chair and VERY limited food options at home/school junk food being at least half of the food intake for many probably much more so I am extremely happy that someone like Dr. Cooper, father of aerobics and someone who has been doing this longer then I have been ALIVE is focusing on the children who are being left behind and not getting the help they need at home/school. Trying to get PE back in school so they can have at least some activity and education about health fitness in their life is an excellent idea.
    I also think his statistics about 10% of the people with diabetes (type 2?) was due to medical issues and not inactivity and eating habits sounds about right and he has treated SO MANY people he would know much more about it all together. From my families history I can say the family members who have medical issues and had been told to change their eating habits and become more active because of health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, obesity, depression, thyroid meds and DID change their habits do not have the health problems they started to have and lowered the use of other medicines they need every day. The ones who refused to change their habits are having more and more problems with their meds and health. They are not considereding/talking about that 10% when in reality they are focusing and talking about the majority who are the 90% because poor eating habits and not being active is something that people can CURE. Diabetes that is from a medical problems can't be cured it can only be treated. - 2/11/2009   3:46:30 PM
    Stating that it is hopeless is only fueling the fire. We don't need to hear that fitness is something you can only do when you're young. Health is for everyone. While everyone has a different level of motivation, there is no reason not to introduce small positive changes every day. We can work 40(+) hours a week and that may make us exhausted but that does not mean we can't be as full of life and health as kids, we just need to put in the effort. I can't believe he is 'giving up!' - 2/11/2009   3:45:33 PM
  • 31
    I was 61 when I decided sitting on the sofa or in front of the computer would kill me, so I went to weight watchers, learned how to eat, and lost 120 lbs.. I went to the gym,( something I never thought I would do )and started to exercise 3 days a week. I am in better shape today than I was when I was 40..Old dogs can learn new tricks :) - 2/11/2009   3:45:15 PM
  • 30
    I think that it's very important to pay attention to your childrens needs.If you take the focus away from fat vs. thin and start focusing on healthy dinners as a family TOGETHER, getting outside and playing together, and involvment in the community, through scouts or some other organization, it starts to make a big difference in our childrens health. I know that as parents we are all very busy. I work 60 hrs. a week but my daughter plays soccer, is a green-belt in taekwondo, and she has been a member of campire u.s.a. for 7 years now. Her dr. says she's fit as could be! - 2/11/2009   3:42:28 PM
  • 29
    I can understand his frustration. The next generation needs to learn much about nutrition and exercise. Todays kids need to learn the importance of getting away from the television and video games and learn to live life actively. Much of this lack of activity is because parents use these devices as a means of babysitting their children. The parents bad habits are already rubbing off on the children because the parents do not want to take responsibility for their childrens health. If Dr. Cooper wants to work with the children he is going to have to work with the parents too. Find a way to organize nutrition and exercise instruction for both parents and children to do together. Double accountability. The parents might learn something too. - 2/11/2009   3:06:37 PM
  • 28
    The healthy people I've met are ones who are self-motivated. We can't change humans once they've developed years of habits. They have to decide to do it themselves. However, I think it's a good idea to start with the children, who are in a different environment from when we were kids. - 2/11/2009   3:06:32 PM
  • 27
    I don't think that on an individual basis it is hopeless, but as a society... sort of. I can change, you can change, he can change, but unless EVERYONE is going to get on board I don't think the underlying causes are going to go away and until that happens its going to be an uphill battle for society as a whole. Hopeless is too strong a word, but I think it gets the point across pretty well. - 2/11/2009   2:51:52 PM
  • 26
    Yes, getting the world fit is a hopeless cause! There's a saying that goes "tend to your own knittin'". Why should I worry about other people's level of fitness; it's each person's own decision. I'm not going to try to change anyone... I'll help if someone needs help, just as SparkPeople is a tool for those who need a hand... But you can't change a person who doesn't want to change. Hopeless cause. - 2/11/2009   2:39:20 PM
  • 25
    I had given up on myself and it was re-inforced by people telling me over and over it was nearly impossible, if not totally impossible, for anyone to lose weight after 50. But when I got so tired of being tired all the time and not enjoying life anymore, plus high blood pressure that came along with the obesity ( ooh, I couldn't call myself obese then), that I finally decided I was going to prove these people wrong and I WAS going to lose the 100 pounds I had piled on. It was one step at a time and slow careful relearning how to eat, but I started to feel better again - to feel like the me I knew before - that it kept me at it.

    So, I understand his frustration, but I'm sorry to hear it anyway. It's never too late and no should be "given up on." It has to come from within, this journey back to health and happiness, but thank God for SparkPeople: the ultimate believers in all of us in our striving to be healthy and happy! - 2/11/2009   2:10:05 PM
    It needs to start early - I walk my daughter to school each day because it is great exercise for both of us! I would support anything that could keep my kids from the emotional pain I've had to deal with being overweight. Good for Dr. Cooper! - 2/11/2009   2:05:29 PM
  • LISALU910
    The difference is that for adults it comes down to personal responsibility. Unless we live in a cave we already KNOW the requirements for staying healthy. And no one can make us do it but ourselves. If adults have the information but choose not to apply it to their lives, that is up to them. You can't force grown adults to put down the cheeseburger or get some exercise.

    On the other hand, children are fair game. Their habits are still forming and they are learning. We can teach and guide them BEFORE bad habits set it. We can set rules and enforce them. We can make sure that junk food is not available and that sedentary activities are limited. We can provide opportunities for our children to be physically active. (Anyone who grew up in the '60's and '70's like I did can probably remember their Mom saying "Go outside and play!")

    So yeah, I kind of see his point..... - 2/11/2009   1:50:45 PM
  • 22
    Nope. Not hopeless... just mostly hopeless. We, as adults, want the easy way out and until they make a pill that makes you skinny with no effort and you can eat what you want, the vast majority of people will stay unhealthy, lazy, and fat. I say this from experience. I am changing myself slowly and learning to say no to the bad and yes to the good. But, I still wish there was an easier way.

    I am trying to teach my child to be healthy from the get go and hope that he will never have the struggles that I have had. I am trying to teach healthy habits so he never has any bad habits to unlearn. - 2/11/2009   1:46:25 PM
  • 21
    This is a fabulous article! NO I don't think getting the world fit is a hopeless cause, just is going to require more patience and more determination than thought.

    The night is always darkest before the dawn. - 2/11/2009   1:40:38 PM
  • 20
    Actually, I have never labeled anyone or anything in my entire life as hopeless. Change is always possible but we can only change ourselves.

    After the birth of my daughter, I made a decision to start exercising w/ Jane Fonda on cassette and I believe that it was in 1983. Anyway, it felt great to have my body back. What I mean by having my body back is to feel that my muscles were functioning healthy, I had strength and endurance. Back then it was important to me that I was healthy because I needed to lift my daughter, and all things associated with being a good Mother and person.

    Throughout the years my reasons to exercise have changed according to the stages of my life. The one “known” that I can count on is exercising and eating right.

    To me a reason to be fit and healthy equates a “commitment” to heath and exercise. Hopeless? Absolutely and unequivocally not!
    - 2/11/2009   1:28:01 PM
  • 5KSOON
    Getting adults healthy is not a hopeless cause at all. In fact, it is more important now than it ever has been, ESPECIALLY with the increase in childhood obesity. Sure, it makes tonnes of sense to get kids on board and to try to tackle that issue at an early stage of the problem, however, it also makes sense to have parents and role models doing the same thing at the same time. Education is the key to this issue and it is important to educate the adults as well as the children so that we see measurable changes. It may be harder to get to the adults but it is not impossible or hopeless. A more positive and proactive attitude will help not only the children but also the adults faced by obesity. - 2/11/2009   1:23:52 PM
  • 18
    The only person I can change is myself. The only person the "Father or Aerobics" should expect to change is himself.

    I don't blame people/society for not changing. It's none of my business what other people choose for themselves.
    - 2/11/2009   1:14:59 PM
  • 17
    I'm glad that Dr. Cooper cared enough to give 40 years to the cause. I don't believe that it is a hopeless cause but I do believe that you have to start with the idea of eating healthy and being fit when you are young. However, that said, as every teacher can tell you, if you try to teach a child and there is no support at home, it is an uphill battle. I would suggest a family approach. Getting the whole family fit and eating for health would hit both age groups. Then you could follow up with doing a more concentrated effort on the youth. They might even notice that it was something that they did at home! - 2/11/2009   1:05:28 PM

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