How does the US compare to other countries in attempts to fight obesity? Do they do more or less is it better or worse? While doing research on obesity I found many courses and seminars geared toward fitness professionals with the topic of obesity. This is no so in the US and if it is I am unaware of it. Let me know your thoughts.
Sometimes it seems to me that we in the US are our own worst enemies when it comes to the ‘fight against obesity’.
Caught in the middle are those who are overweight and who are being bounced around like ping-pong balls between the food industry, the weight loss industry, the pharmaceutical industry and even the medical industry. It appears to me that we ave created a giant industry around obesity with conflicting goals, all the while paying lip service to the ‘fight against obesity’.
This travesty is particularly apparent when it comes to children who – according to everybody – we all love and only want the best for. Yet there is the biggest fight about vending machines in schools, and physical education is a thing of the past. Yet schools budgets do not have the money to provide what is best.
I believe that the lack of political backbone against the various lobbies is the greatest obstacle in this fight. This is one of the few subjects that makes me truly angry.
Without patting ourselves on the shoulders too hard, I like to think that we as fitness professionals are truly committed to help without any ulterior motive beyond the satisfaction of knowing that we made a difference in the life of a person.
Could it be because obesity is such a complex disease? Obesity is chronic disease that very well will present with other complex clinical conditions that are outside the scope of practice of the certified personal trainer. Here is something I read in the ACSM textbook “Exercise Management for Persons Living with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities” regarding “Exercise and Multiple Chronic Conditions.”
It reads, “Several very common combinations of multiple chronic diseases are frequently seen in exercise training or rehabilitation programs, so it would be prudent for lifestyle intervention teams to become familiar with the management of persons with these combinations, which include the following:
Obesity,arthritis or back pain or both, and “heart disease.”
Obesity, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, or back pain or both, and “heart disease.”
Obesity, type 2 diabetes, stroke, arthritis, or back pain and both, and “heart disease.”
Obesity, type 2 diabetes, stroke, arthritis or back pain or both and renal failure
Any or all of the above with depression or both.
Shawn, I’ve only included the combinations that pertain to the obese population.
Ask yourself, is the average personal trainer truly prepared to take on the obese population singlehandedly only after having taken a course or a seminar or would it be more prudent that the personal trainer be working with a team of professionals who understand and can treat the various complications that might arise as a consequence of diabetes.
Shawn this is just food for thought from my perspective . Thank you for such a thought-provoking question.
There are a number of different reasons that cause the obesity epidemic.
-Our food is no longer food.
-People do not care about lack of knowledge regarding food
-Food Industry out to make $ and does not care about food.
-Nutritional Research is going backwards (studying nutrients instead of whole foods)
-People are lazy
Unless individuals take matters into their own hands they are going to be obese.
Fuel the Movement,
Obesity is standardized differently in other continents. Globally, obesity in a person is viewed as his/her “excess body weight” (according to a country’s standard). The U.S. definitely spending so much time and money to fight obesity. Since US has more resources and research foundations specifically assigned to combat this situation, it is fair to say there is easy public access to information on how to fight obesity or “how to get fit”. In most cases, it’s not the information dissemination but the passive attitudes of those who really need to lose weight and yet, taking it for granted until they get ill. In short, US has the resources but those who need it, do not take it to heart. In other countries, sad to say, they may WANT to focus on obesity, but their governments tend to focus more on other issues they think NEED to be addressed such as malnutrition, insurgencies and economy. But you will be surprised in the Philippines for example, in every small clinics (government funded rural or private) they have ample information regarding how to combat obesity by promoting locally manufactured natural supplements based from local fruits, trees and herbs. So to each his own, I may say.
The United States is undoubted more concerned with obesity than many other countries because we are in the top 3 fattest countries in the world, and we have exorbidant health care costs.
If we could control excess weight gain, we would control many diseases. Lifestyle habits may prevent heart disease, high BP, high cholesterol, stroke and diabetes.
However we talk a big story, many studies, and much focus on exercise, but we have not been able to stem the tide.
We need to look at the source (underlying emotional or physical components) of the symptom (overweightness). Working on the symptoms is not the answer. We may want to focus on teaching our young to contol their food intake and be responsible eaters, instead of feeding them pizza.
Additionally we are afraid to face that we are personally obese, 66% of us are there. We tell our children that it is ok to be who they are, but we don’t tell them that who they are as fat children may be emotionally and physically damaging.
Educating the public is step one. Supporting and following through on what we teach is step two. Options and resources is step three. Taking responsibility in controlling intake is the intrinsic key to step four.