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Politically Correct

Did you know that the majority of Canadians feel that health care is or should be the government’s top priority during its administration both on a provincial and federal level? Did you also know that over 30% of health care costs come from preventable illness and diseases DIRECTLY related to obesity?

And yet it is considered rude or politically incorrect to say anything about it to the offenders themselves. When you see an obese child eating a big-mac and some fries – what thoughts cross your mind? What do you think when you see a morbidly obese person walking down the street eating a bag of chips? Do you say what you are thinking? Of course not! None of us do because it would be bad manners and we don’t want to hurt any one’s feelings.

And that silent acceptance has turned what was once an anomaly into a health care crisis of epidemic proportions. It is now a litigious offense to not allow access to a restaurant, theater or mode of transportation to anyoo  based on their size, even if they don’t fit! You can’t dare charge someone for two seats on a plane – even if they take up three – for fear of being sued. Suddenly everyone has become so politically correct andafraid to offend that no ne is willing to stand up and say that this is not acceptable! It costs billions of dollars in health care – taking away funding for people suffering from unpreventable illness, it is destroying the health of our country as a whole and is slowly killing our children. No oneeven seemed to blink when they changed the name of ‘Adult-Onset Diabetes’ to ‘Type-2 Diabetes’ because so many children were being afflicted with the lifestyle-related disease, something that was unheard of 30 years ago! We demand more funding for health care, more money for phys-ed classes, more money for everything and yet the solution doesn’t lie with the government or with more funding (never has more money been spent on health care that it has in the past decade and yet it isn’t nearly enough), the solutions lies as it always does – at the root of the problem.

Everyone knows that the less junk you eat and the ore you exercise, the healthy you are. Everyone knows that a carrot is a better snack than a doughnut and that 1 hour of baseball is healthier than 1 hour of x-box any day of the week – even children know that. The problem isn’t with getting people to understand what is right and healthy for them and their children, they know. The problem is getting them to do it! All of the pay off – all of the short-term rewards in society (at least where healthy lifestyles are concerned) come from doing the wrong thing. Fast food is easier. Video games make great babysitters. Sports are more expensive than TV. Pizza pops are an easier lunch than a sandwich when you are pressed for time to get out the door in the morning. And it is just easier to give in to a demand for Pepsi when you know water, juice or milk is really what they and you should have… Short term gain for long term pain.

It is so much easier to concentrate on those short term pay-offs than to deal with the alternatives and put energy and effort into doing the right things because well sometimes they are hard. No mother likes to hear her child cry, and it is so hard not stick to broccoli when they are screaming for french fries. It is so hard to go for a walk after dinner when you have worked all day than it is to sit and watch TV. And lets face it, planning andpaying for healthy snacks is much more difficult than opening up a bag of chips. I understand it – I really do! It is even more difficult when it’s all you have ever known and you try to change – even your body betrays you buy craving the fat andsalt you have grown it accustomed too! If you find it hard to say no – imagine how hard it will be for your children in 20 years when the word has been completely foreign to them their entire lives. Children live what they learn and they will follow in your footsteps.

So if people know the right thing to do but choose to do the wrong thing anyway – how do we as a society change that? Some may even be asking – Should we? Well, when it came time to change the way that the Country viewed smoking, we sure did think that society had a right and even an obligation to get involved in people’s personal choices and what they did with their bodies – because it affected society as a whole. that is the point of a democracy – to do what is best for the majority and look at what that attitude has done in the past 10 years on that front. No more smoking in public places – rules where you can smoke outside andincreased taxes on cigarettes to discourage the practice even more. we have also all heard stories of smokers being denied government-funded surgeries or treatments because they refused to quit. Has it worked? Look around next time you go out for dinner or for a few drinks – smokers used to be the majority because it was the popular thing to do and totally acceptable – that is no more. Some will argue that these laws an policies interfere with individual rights and you know what – I agree, they do and they should! Because when individual choices negatively affect society as a whole, they need to be taken away.

Perhaps these types of incentives are needed to get people to see obesity in a different light – not as an individual freedom, but as a problem that affects society as a whole. Perhaps if we weren’t so afraid of offending people andstood our ground saying that this behaviour is NOT acceptable, we would start to see a change. If you take up two seats, you pay for two. If you can’t fit – you don’t go. If you refuse to change lifestyle you lose free health care for those related illnesses. What is obesity was no longer considered a disability? What if we started referring obese children to Child and Family Services for intervention and home studies? What if we started seeing it for what it is, a choice? Would that change the attitude people have towards solving the problem? Health care is free, mental health is free,  dietitians are free – in Canada there is no excuse for not taking charge and being responsible for your own choices. There is so much help available – so many people willing to help that we can stop this epidemic and change the way our country is growing – giving us and our children a chance at a healthy and happy future. Isn’t that what we all what?

***the definition of obesity is being at least 20% over ideal weight as determined by body fat percentage or body mass index***

This entry was posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at 5:48 pm and is filed under Diet Therapy, Weight Loss. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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