Be a Model!

Sis and her amazing feet!

Obesity is now considered epidemic. Two thirds of all Americans are now considered overweight or obese. Along with it, the incidence of type-2 diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome has risen to include 25% of our entire population. We even have an annual obesity ranking of the states. America, we have a problem!

How did this happen? How do we fix it?  Local governments are taking action by eliminating super-sized sugary drinks or adding a tax to their purchase. Some, like Jamie Oliver, are directing the fix at school aged kids by making school lunches healthier and putting gym classes back in the curriculum. Some business are providing lunch and learn wellness seminars, offering discounts for gym membership or providing a exercise room to employees. As researchers dig deeper into the whys and how's of obesity, drug companies are busy developing new weight loss drugs or creating new computer games that require bodies in motion. Just like there are many reasons for the obesity crisis, no one approach is going to fix it. It's going to take many different approaches with kids, families, schools, media, product development, marketing, education, and support. And, it's going to take everyone working together to make these changes happen. 

We need to start with ourselves. Become a model for a healthy lifestyle. Children learn by observing what and how their parents and significant adults in their lives eat and how much time they spend in recliners vs being active. They model lifestyle, healthy or not. It's not enough to tell kids to sit down at the table and eat their broccoli if you don't. And it's not much different for adults.  What others choose to eat or drink can often influence personal choices. How many times have you changed your meal order when you heard a friend ask for fries instead of a salad? It's time for a change.

While I was walking with a friend one morning, we met another woman we know. Sis was out on her daily 2+ mile walk with her cane in one hand and water bottle in the other. I snapped a photo of her strong legs and the new bright blue "barefoot" sneakers. With her vitality and endurance she's my healthy lifestyle model. I want to move like she does when I'm her age...pushing 90!

Strive to be a healthy lifestyle model for those people you meet. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”