Renew You Challenge

Let’s start this week off right!

Here is your newest weekly challenge (I mean opportunity!) to help set you off on the right foot and in the right direction for bringing health to your week. You could even add it to your calendar. Join us!  

The US rate of obesity is currently 35 percent, up from 15 percent in 1980. A recent study funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that obesity rates will be 42 percent by the year 2030. That means almost half the country is projected to be not only overweight, but obese. The study did find that increases in the obesity rate are slowing, but are still on a slight increase. While this is, in part, good news, the sheer number of people who are currently obese—over 72 million people—is enough to majorly impact the health of the nation. This number will climb to over 100 million by 2030.

An HBO special entitled Weight of the Nation, a four-part documentary series, was created to educate the nation about this growing problem. The Institute of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control, and National Institutes of Health, in cooperation with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and HBO have all come together to spread the message about the consequences and challenges the nation faces, the impact on our children, and what choices can be made to help curb this enormous problem.

The dietary recommendations in the HBO special are in line with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans—which, in my and other’s opinions, still needs some help—but overall, it points people in the general direction of improving their health. As a nation, we’ve got to start somewhere. This will be a good start.

The Institute of Medicine has also put out a report, “Accelerating Progress in Obesity: Solving the Weight of the Nation,” in an effort to urge government and industry to step up to the plate by reducing unhealthy food options and increasing healthy options. Changes in the food industry will be a particularly important solution to this predicament in which we find ourselves.

This week, try to catch the documentary and consider the choices available to you as you go through your week. Is healthy food easily accessible? Is it affordable? Do you have easy access to exercise-friendly environments? Then consider your community. Does everyone in your community have the same access? The obesity problem we face is everyone’s responsibility.