It’s called the obesity epidemic, and if the statistic that 60% of North Americans are overweight is correct, and then there is a very good chance that YOU are one of them. That’s the most difficult part of this whole quest of mine – I end up speaking to people who don’t really want to hear my message. Nobody likes to be called fat and out of shape. In fact, I think most people don’t really even view themselves as being fat and out of shape. This is due mostly to averages – if everyone in our society were super-model skinny, and you were 10 pounds overweight, you would feel fat. In reality, the average person is probably 20 to 40 pounds overweight and if you are only 10 pounds over, you might think that you are doing pretty well. It’s this comparison to the status-quo that is the most dangerous aspect of this epidemic. It is happening to almost everyone, and we can’t even see it.
1.4 million People in the US died of heart disease last year accounting for nearly 40% of all annual deaths. This compares to less than 50,000 who died from car accidents. You wouldn’t even think about driving your car without a seat belt, yet many don’t think twice about digging into the chocolate donut or hitting Mickie D’s for a Quarter Pounder at lunch. Frankly, I am less concerned about what and how much we are eating and more concerned about our active pursuit of inactivity.
Anthropologists believe that early man used to walk the equivalent of a full marathon (that’s 40 km or 26.2 miles) every single day of his/her life. Now the average North American walks the equivalent of 200 meters per day (that’s 1/5 of a single kilometer or about a quarter mile). Think about that for a second. Three million years of evolution has produced an animal that required a certain minimum of activity each day just to function normally. Our activity levels have been dropping drastically for less than a hundred years – a mere .003 % on the big time line. Our bodies can’t adjust to this drastic change in our environment, and as a result we are getting sick and we are dying of a variety of diseases associated to our new found sedentary environment.
I was watching a show on 60 minutes a while ago where Rick Berman was speaking out about how we have become a ‘nanny state’ where we are treated like children by our government who regulates most of what we can do and can’t do and what’s good for us and what’s not. Mr. Berman suggests that the obesity epidemic is not an epidemic at all. He says that an epidemic is a virus that we have no control over. Becoming obese is a choice, he says. Well, I don’t agree. In a way, obesity is like any other modern day disease, in that we ‘create’ the disease by our own doing as a society.