One out of every three children in America are overweight or obese. Two out of every three adults are overweight or obese.
Today, the Institute of Medicine released a report that recommends, in their opinion, comprehensive strategies for addressing the nation’s continuing obesity epidemic and calls on leaders of all sectors to accelerate action to advance those strategies. The release was a highlight of the second day of the 2012 Weight of the Nation conference, hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report highlights five key goals for reversing the epidemic:
- Make physical activity an integral and routine part of life.
- Create food and beverage environments that ensure healthy food and beverage options are the routine, easy choice.
- Transform messages about physical activity and nutrition.
- Expand the role of health care providers, insurers and employers in obesity prevention.
- Make schools a national focal point for obesity prevention.
This report, like most recent national wellness recommendations, misses a key component – the intentional care of the person’s spirit.
God created us as spiritual beings. We are a spirit that has a soul – mind, will and emotions – that lives in a body, our physical being. This report is only about the care of people’s body – not the care of their soul or spirit. It’s no wonder that our national obesity epidemic continues to grow as the months and years pass by. In my opinion, it will continue to plague us as a nation until we begin to get down to the root issues why people are not physically active enough and put the quantity and type of calories that they do into their bodies. We must also help people understand why they eat too much. Most people who do not have a biologically-related weight management challenge will acknowledge that it’s not what they are eating that is the issue but rather “what’s eating them.”
The press reports about this most recent initiative also indicate that leaders in all sectors are encouraged to support these strategies. These strategies are sound in and of themselves, but they are not complete. The overall strategy to combat obesity, must include intentional care of the soul and spirit of the individual – both of adults and children.
In God’s instructions for living, the Bible, the disciple Paul writes – “…Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important for it promises a reward in both this life and the next. This is true and everyone should accept it.” 1 Timothy 4:7-9 We should put this principle into practice and into all of our national obesity prevention strategies.
A new long-range forecast of obesity trends by researchers at Duke University, RTI International in Research Triangle Park and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that although rates of obesity have slowed, they will continue to climb higher. Some researchers even suggest that up to 70% of Americans might be obese by the year 2030. The study was presented on May 7th, 2012 at the CDC’s annual conference on obesity control and prevention, called Weight of the Nation, in Washington, D.C. Read more in an article that appeared in the Charlotte Observer today.
There’s a popular saying – “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” I guess our national governmental leaders don’t quite understand that unless they add a spiritual care component to it’s strategy to combat obesity that they’ll continue to get the same old outcomes.