Educating and Saving a Nation.
This weekend landed me in Tampa, Florida – Dunedin to be exact – and, compared to what I am exposed to on a normal basis, I saw a disproportionate number of the 33.9% of the US population that is obese. It struck a chord with me.
The impact of the obese population in this area was staggering – I saw four diabetic stores and health centers within a 2 mile radius, the sidewalks looked like MarioKart as overweight people opted for motorized transportation over walking (and in all fairness, some of them were simply too large to walk), and individuals emerged from handicapped parking spots no older than 40 and not handicapped, but too overweight to walk any great distance.
There was nothing funny about the state of Dunedin.
On a walk with my Dad we discussed some of the impacts of an overweight society. Sure, there are the medical costs and questions of who should bear this cost but the larger question is what does this mean for our country from a personnel standpoint?
Scholarly articles and publications have detailed the many impacts on the brain and person’s psychology from being overweight. Depression, anxiety, decreased willpower, poor college attendance, and lowered self-esteem to name a few.
What becomes of a nation and its staying power when its population and the characteristics and values of the people that built that nation – hard work, determination, fortitude, and willpower – are severely compromised? Great historical events that shaped this country and put on display the fortitude of Americans – the invasion of Normandy, the Great Depression, the civil rights movement – would those events have turned out the way they did with an obese and sick population?
For too many who swing toward the Paleo or Primal camp the answer to this problem is too simple and lacks compassion. It’s easy to jump on the Paleo bandwagon of coolness and condemn everyone else that eats otherwise. But it’s not that simple. For many of us, we were fortunate to have a friend tell us about Paleo or learned about it from our CrossFit shop. We were lucky. And for many of us, when we first learned of this different style of eating, we resisted the possibility that we could do more for our health. In the end, education and compassion is what got us where we are.
So how do you educate a nation? Post to comments.