Published: Jan 25, 2012 02:00 AM
Modified: Jan 24, 2012 10:42 AM
Get real about obesity
The state of Georgia has the right idea on obesity. It's time to stop sugarcoating it.Yet the ad campaign on childhood obesity that the state is directing at parents is receiving some flak. Naysayers say the ads can hurt children's self-esteem and set them up for ridicule. But what about those same problems and more that we set children up for by turning a blind eye to weight?"Being fat takes the fun out of being a kid" reads the end of some of the Georgia ads. That's because, in addition to the self-esteem and bullying problems that can arise from being overweight, kids who are overweight also are at risk for high blood pressure and cholesterol; breathing problems; joint problems; diabetes and more.Do we ignore the potential for death or prolonged emotional and physical pain because we are afraid to speak truthfully?These are the stats: Nearly 40 percent of Georgia's kids are overweight or obese, second to Mississippi. Yet about 75 percent of their parents don't consider them overweight.The 2009 statistics for North Carolina showed 32 percent of kids are overweight, with just 15 percent of parents aware.In Orange County, the 2011 health assessment found 62 percent of residents surveyed are overweight. But only 19 percent rated their health as fair or poor.There is a serious disconnect.At a community health forum I attended last year, I heard a doctor say: You don't need a report to tell you we have a problem with weight; just look around any parking lot and you can see half the county is overweight.Still, we're fooling ourselves. Somewhere along the path of fast and processed foods, we've accepted a super-sized body as the normal size. Several years ago at dinner, a relative declared that her oversized body was the one she was born with. The part of me that is truthful, literal and worried for her health wanted to say, "But that's not the body you had when I met you." The part of me that didn't want to hurt her feelings won out, and I said nothing.And that's what it's all about, isn't it? Feeling good about ourselves no matter what our size is. I don't have a problem with that. I know my character doesn't change even as my waistline expands, and I know that's the same for those around me. But we're not truthful with ourselves when we accept an overweight body - and all its associated health risks - as the new normal.Clothing manufacturers only perpetuate the problem when they make a Size 10 the new Size 2. Last year I got fed up with buying increasingly larger pant sizes (with smaller numbers on the labels). I decided to quit the annual new pants purchase and lose some weight.I didn't think I had much to lose. No one around me did. Thirteen pounds lighter, I realized I had been fooling myself about how much I had actually gained. And I was stunned at how much healthier and more energetic I felt. Losing the weight was surprisingly easy - but only because I was determined and inspired. I credit the documentary "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead," which follows an Australian man on his 60-day journey across the United States juicing.If you haven't seen the film, watch it. And then show it to someone you love.
Catherine Wright lives in Hillsborough. Her favorite juices are the Mean Green and Lemon Lime. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can try some freshly juiced drinks at Whole Foods' juice bar. Be sure to get the approval of your doctor before juicing for any length of time.