Wednesday, May 18

Born to Run (and to be anything but a couch potato)

I am about halfway through Born to Run. Having published the latest obesity stats in another blog, this passage struck me:

"Every action flick depicts the destruction of civilization as some kind of crash-boom-bang, a nuclear war or hurtling comet or a self-aware-cyborg uprising, but the true cataclysm may already be creeping right up under our eyes: because of rampant obesity, one in three children born in the United States is at risk of diabetes--meaning, we could be the first generation of Americans to outlive our own children. Maybe the ancient Hindus were better crystal-ball-gazers than Hollywood when they predicted the world would end not with a bang, but with a big old yawn. Shiva the Destroyer would snuff us out by doing... nothing. Lazing out. Withdrawing his hot-blooded force from our bodies. Letting us become slugs."
Christoper McDougall, Born to Run

Today, Colorado has the nation’s lowest rate of adult obesity, at 18.6 percent. In California, with its reputation for athletic-minded surfers and beach bums, one quarter of the adult population is obese. That's right - not just overweight. Obese. In California.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The rapid change over the past two decades is alarming, to say the least. In 1990 ten states had obesity rates below 10 percent. Today none do. In 1990 no states had obesity rates above 15 percent. Today none have rates below 15 percent.

How has this happened so quickly?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Many communities are built in ways that make it difficult or unsafe to be physically active."

While I agree that wide, sidewalk-less roads play a role in the obesity epidemic, I also think there is a broader social movement at play... Or rather not moving and not playing?

According to Nielsen, Americans are watching more TV than ever - now up to an average of 34 HOURS PER WEEK per person. People are watching television like it's a full-time job.

Somewhere along the way we've lost our collective interest in getting outside to play, and have turned into a nation of couch potatoes.

I'm hoping that by the end of Born to Run, McDougall will present some suggestions for overcoming our national sloth. Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign is a start in the right direction, but I have to wonder if more people will exercise or will just sit and watch her dance in the Dougie video?

According to the CDC, obesity is “defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater. BMI is calculated from a person's weight and height and provides a reasonable indicator of body fatness and weight categories that may lead to health problems. Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.”

1 comment:

  1. And that's why I cancelled cable.

    While at it, is it just me or does the image depicting the obesity belt look like a KKK clansman?! Just sayin'


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