Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Today I watched The Weight of the Nation, Part 1 from the treadmill (giving myself a self-congratulatory pat on the back). This is an HBO Documentary series on the obesity crisis in America. You can watch it here if you are interested. theweightofthenation.hbo
This documentary was a major undertaking which combines statistics, research, and the opinions of the leading obesity experts. I have a personal interest in this subject and was looking forward to watching as someone that has struggled with obesity and related complications since childhood (I was a fat kid even before it became trendy). That said, I must say that part one left me feeling pretty sad. In general, it seemed like we are being shamed as a nation. They tossed around plenty of statics about how many of us are overweight or obese, the sobering reality of childhood obesity, and plenty of information about how this extra weight negatively impacts our health. So far the documentary didn’t didn’t impart much in the way of solutions though it promises to address this in subsequent parts of the series so I will reserve judgment until I have watched the entire series.
What really saddened me was the story of an older couple and their struggles with diabetes. The man had lost a leg, has sores on his other foot, and the beginnings of cataracts. His wife comments that she wishes she would have known the steps to take to prevent the situation. She says something along the lines of, “Had we known, we didn’t need all that steak and roast beef, fish and chicken are just delicious.” I don’t want to take one comment out of context but does she really think that diabetes was caused by eating steak instead of fish? I am sure she was told by the doctor to limit saturated fat because heart disease is also prevalent among diabetes but what about the carbohydrates? What really could have saved this man’s leg was blood sugar control and this occurs by closely monitoring ones carbohydrate intake and blood sugars. I have talked to other diabetics, many in the senior citizen demographic, that try really hard and put a great deal of stock in what the doctor tell them to do. The problem is that often times they aren’t given the correct information! I know this first hand from my own diabetes education classes.
I think the saddest thing about the obesity epidemic in America is that we know more about the science of weight loss and weight gain than ever before and yet those findings are not made mainstream. The food industry, agriculture, drug companies, and other aspects of big business have a hand in the politics around this topic and prevent the government form fully embracing the real changes that need to take place in our county in order to combat our struggle with obesity. If you are not willing or able to do your own research, you won't get the best infromation available.
“When you know better you do better.”
¯ Maya Angelou