NIH Launches Campaign to Fight Obesity

The US National Institutes of Health recently announced the launch of a massive campaign to fight obesity- an epidemic that affects close to two thirds of the population of the US. YES, close to two thirds of us are now classified as obese, costing us nearly $117 billion a year in direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost wages from misssed work days. Even if you are not in this two thirds majority- you will be directly affected by this epidemic. Next time you have to wait in the emergency room for 6 hours to get your childs’ broken wrist looked at, think about why the ER’s have such a horrendous wait time. Poor self care – lack of exercise, gluttonous overeating and ignoring the warning signs of the diseases and illnesses related to obesity, drives millions to the ER each year for medical care.
The NIH plan recognizes now that just “telling” people to eat better and exercise is not enough. They admit,” On the surface, it may seem that the solution to the obesity epidemic is obvious: Get people to eat less and exercise more. But, the reality is that this change is very difficult to accomplish”. So, the plan calls for targeting obesity on both the behaviorial and environmental levels, as well as the more traditional approaches of improving medical and surgical options for the obese. The plan also calls for the”translation” of research data into real information that the average US citizen can relate to.
As a personal trainer, I know that it is essential that the “everyman” get real-life, specific suggestions and day-to-day strategic ideas in order to battle obesity. Willpower, which we have so relied upon to lose weight, is just not enough. “Willing” yourself to not eat and exercise more without specific strategies and support systems is a prescription for failure. Ultimately, failure makes us feel worse about ourselves, driving us to “eat” for comfort, the exact behavior we are trying to avoid. Support systems may include joining a nutrition workshop, enlisting an exercise partner, hiring a personal trainer, or walking with co-workers at lunch. Strategies for weight loss include food and exercise logs, keeping certain foods out of the house, eating at regular intervals to avoid extreme hunger which makes us overeat, or eating a small, healthy snack before going out to dinner or to a party.