A lot of focus in schools is on childhood obesity – and rightly so. Children spend a lot of time at school, eat meals and snacks there, and have the opportunity to learn a lot about physical fitness and healthy lifestyles.
But what about their role models — what about your health?
Understanding the Issue
More than one-third of adults in the Unites States are obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That is 78.6 million people at risk of or already dealing with obesity-related health conditions. These conditions include heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, stroke, liver and gallbladder disease, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
Obesity affects the entire nation; in every single state in America, more than 20 percent of adults are obese. In twenty states, the number is higher – more than 30 percent of adults are obese. Studies estimate that the obesity epidemic costs the United States more than $147 billion per year in direct medical costs and even more through indirect costs related to reduced productivity and absenteeism at work.
Working at a school is rewarding, but it can also be tough. You spend all day focusing on others, but are you taking the time to focus on yourself as well?
Though many factors influence a person’s risk of obesity – including genetics, behavior and the environment in which a person lives – at the most basic level, obesity is caused by an imbalance in the amount of calories taken in through food and beverages, and the amount of calories burned through daily physical activity.
Addressing the Issue
The good news is that by developing positive lifestyle habits, including healthy eating, drinking lots of water, and regular physical activity, anyone can lower their risk of becoming obese and developing obesity-related diseases; as well as losing weight if you have been diagnosed with obesity.
Those same habits can help you maintain a healthy weight, which can become a struggle for many individuals as they age. Shifting our way of thinking from “on a diet” to “living a healthy lifestyle” can be helpful and feel more rooted in self-care than self-deprivation.
There’s an old Japanese proverb that anyone who has ever struggled with their weight can relate to: “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” The point is, never give-up – your health and happiness are worth it. Keep getting up!
For more information on lifestyle changes to prevent obesity, visit our Nutrition and Healthy Eating and Physical Activity and Active Living pages. And don’t forget to check out our Healthy Futures Blog for lots of great ideas and inspiration!