When I was young, we didn’t watch television or play video games. We couldn’t wait to go “outside” and play jump rope and double-dutch, dodge ball, hop scotch. In the summer, Coney Island and long days at the beach, or summer camp with Pastor John Genzel and fun days at either Riverside Park or the Cloisters.
Our “down time” often involved long walks and meandering through the Museum of Natural History or singing in the tunnels in Central Park, inspired by the echo chamber effect on our harmonies. In winter, ice-skating ruled. On occasion, we went to Rockefeller Center’s rink, which was too stuffy. Our favorite was the Walden Memorial skating rink where we socialized with our friends, compared pom-poms on our ice skates, sipped hot cocoa, sang the latest songs and dreamed out loud.
On bad weather days, we played checkers, chess and crossword puzzles inspired by our Aunt Mandy who lived with us. Aunt Mandy was our ticket to “outside”
before we were “old enough” to venture out on our own. Her favorite destination, and ours, was Central Park. Rocks to climb on, a lake to set paper boats afloat, pigeons to feed, the bridal path, some sticks and our imagination was all we needed to engage ourselves in fantasy and fun.
All that outdoor activity kept us at the right weight for our age. By today’s standards, we were skinny. Today, it is video games, i Pads and fast foods consisting of fat and chemicals. Obesity in our country is at epidemic levels. I do my best to eat healthy staying away from non-organic foods as much as I can.
I applaud the First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to encourage us to develop healthier lifestyles with her “Let’s Move” campaign. Unfortunately, there are some who see her program as government intrusion. It’s not a mandate, it’s a call to Americans to take responsibility for their health. That’s actually a conservative idea. Go figure.
First Lady Michelle Obama is in the midst of a nationwide anti-obesity campaign aimed at shrinking America’s collectively expanding waistline. The conservative media are striking back against Mrs. Obama’s message of fitness and nutrition by decrying what they see as government intrusion into our pantries. [….]
According to the Center for Disease Control (a program the GOP wants to practically defund), obesity is the “#2 cause of preventable death” in America, and has reached epidemic proportions:
- 58 Million Overweight; 40 Million Obese; 3 Million morbidly Obese
- Eight out of 10 over 25’s Overweight
- 78% of American’s not meeting basic activity level recommendations
- 25% completely Sedentary
- 76% increase in Type II diabetes in adults 30-40 since 1990 Obesity Related Diseases
- 80% of type II diabetes related to obesity
- 70% of Cardiovascular disease related to obesity
- 42% breast and colon cancer diagnosed among obese individuals
- 30% of gall bladder surgery related to obesity
- 26% of obese people having high blood pressure
Besides the negative, preventable impact on our health, obesity is overwhelming the costs of health care:
- Type II Diabetes ($63.14 Billion)
- Osteoporosis ($17.2 Billion)
- Hypertension ($3.23 Billion)
- Heart Disease ($6.99 Billion)
- Post-menopausal breast cancer ($2.32 Billion)
- Colon Cancer ($2.78 Billion)
- Endometrial Cancer ($790 Million)
I don’t want government to “control” my life. The First Lady’s efforts is a call for us take responsibility for our health and well-being. Andrew Breitbart recently posted a not-so-nice cartoon, depicting the First Lady eating a stack of hamburgers. Mr. Breitbart looks like he could lose a few pounds in this photo taken several months ago. Instead of railing against the First Lady with childlike commentary, Breitbart should consider adding some gym time to his schedule and perhaps eating less hamburgers himself.
The budget is looming large and health care costs are at the top of the list. Obesity is preventable. In order to change the number two cause of death in our country and make a serious impact in health care costs, we need to seriously take responsibility for our actions and refrain from cheap shots aimed at culture-war sport.