Keeping a Proper Sound Perspective to Lose Weight
Statistics on weight increase all around the world can be alarming. In the United States alone, two-thirds of adults are now overweight, obese, or need to lose weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP). Similar increases are seen worldwide. The list of diseases and health risks supposedly caused by obesity is a long one. It includes hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers, gall bladder disease, glucose intolerance, respiratory diseases, osteoarthritis, and many others headlined frequently in the daily newspaper.
Warning bells are sounding all over for people to lose weight. However, while weight has come to dominate health concerns, health and well-being encompass many other aspects of life, including the mind. Weight is only one small part of physical health, and may or may not affect an individual’s health adversely. Many large people are very healthy and many thin people are unhealthy. Largely ignored today are life-threatening health risks for the many girls and women in our culture who are under nourished because of their desperate need to lose weight.
Underweight and nutrient deficiencies present severe problems in our culture. In the big picture it is total wellness that counts. Weight concerns should never overshadow the need for growing children and adults to be fully nourished and live in a moderately active environment. Despite the risks related to obesity, it is a mistake to exaggerate those risks. We need to remember that special interest groups with much money and strong lobbying power are involved. In the US, $50 billion is spent annually just to lose weight. This drives much of the disinformation that we read in the news almost every day.
It cannot be ignored also that our culture has an undeniable obesity bias. This also feeds into the exaggerations and misinformation that continually surge about obesity. In 2004, at the height of the official obesity hysteria, it was announced that obesity causes 400,000 deaths each year in the United States. In actual fact – though the numbers seem high – you are more likely to die from a terrorist attack than from obesity. What caused the 400,000 deaths were the diseases, not the obesity.