Weight-Related Problems:
Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Weight-Related Problems: Prevention Is Better Than Cure

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) have identified that as of 2000, two-thirds of United States' population is overweight and nearly one-third is obese. This glaring fact is not representative but gives us a clear picture of the global implications of this phenomenon. As technology gives us new and better ways to automate our activities and as our global culture more and more promotes the slim physique, we find equilibrium harder to achieve.

Attaining our ideal weight is both a means and an end to a healthy life. Both, however, are beset with problems. Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia are just some of the behavioral problems we face when we become too obsessed with keeping fat cells away. In retrospect, we are challenged by heart diseases and hormonal type of cancers to name a few when we become too lax in monitoring our weight. The bottom line is that obtaining the ideal lean to fat ratio is essential to our health, but what is more important is how we achieve this.

Maria Golan and Scott Crow, authors of Prevention And Treatment of Weight-Related Problems, recommend that in order for interventions to become effective treatment and prevention of health-related problems should take a health-centered rather than a weight-centered approach. We need to see past the number our weight measuring tests give and focus on how to change or maintain that number the healthy way.

What is the healthy way? The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that governments should create supportive environments through public policies that promote eating healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity. Hopefully, this will encourage individuals to lose weight by eating more fruits, vegetables and nuts and cut back on foods high in sugar and saturated animal-based fat.

The United States Department on Health and Human Services reiterates this and encourages us to veer away from sedentary lifestyles. We are advised to increase our daily physical activity to at least 30 minutes a day. We can start by walking more and take it a step further by enrolling in a gym for aerobics or yoga. Taking a sport is also a fun alternative. Regardless of whatever physical activity we choose, the point is to burn off those calories that we consume on a daily basis.

The decision to have such a healthy lifestyle need not happen overnight. Parents, as much as governments, have the moral obligation and responsibility to educate the young. Children assimilate so many media images of what the "ideal" figure is that it is not uncommon for them to assimilate that this is what they need to become. Parents can thwart this by making their children understand that the slim figure is a product of having a healthy lifestyle. Encouraging the child to take a sport as a form of recreation can enforce this. Junk foods should also be minimized and replaced by foods high in nutritional value.

Aside from this, children need to understand that despite the media images and peer pressure; he or she is beautiful in his or her own merit. Fortifying a child's self-esteem is an effective way of nipping weight-related behavioral disorders in the bud. Prevention is indeed better than cure.

It's surprising how much of this obesity phenomenon we can actually control and prevent. We can:

  • As individuals, we can start by knowing what our ideal weight should be.
  • We should then consult a nutritionist and our physician on how we can modify our diet and increase our physical activity.
  • We need to adhere to the diet and physical activity plans we worked out with the experts. We have to resist the urge to try the latest diet craze.
  • Let's not smoke and drink.
  • When we buy meat, let's opt for the lean cuts.
  • If it will take less than 10 minutes to cover the distance by foot, let's just walk.
  • If it's less than 5 flights, let's just take the stairs instead of getting in the elevator.
  • Ignorance is not an excuse; we should make it a point to be updated on new findings related to health and fitness.
  • Finally, we should pass on what we know about weight management to as many friends and family and support each other.

Awareness is always the first step. Commitment ensures that we take the second.

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.