This morning, NBC’s Today show ran a story commenting on a newly released report titled “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing in America 2009.” This report, released today by Trust for America’s Health and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, discusses the state of obesity in the United States.
The main message is that obesity rates in 23 states have increased over last year, and childhood obesity has risen to 30 percent across the country. These numbers are consistent with the trends over the past 20 years and the problem of obesity continues to grow. What I found interesting and disappointing is that when the reporter, Meredith Viera, asked Nancy Snyderman, the medical editor, what can be done about the problem, Snyderman said she didn’t have a solution.
Many doctors, legislators, and community organizers think that to tackle the problem of obesity, there has to be a massive legislative approach. They think that someone has to come in and fix everything.
I, however, take a much different approach. Start with a simple plan that combines eating well and exercising. I just take a one person or one family at a time approach. I think this works best.
If people are not used to exercising, I ask them to start with 5 to 10 minutes a day with friends or family members. Cut down on the sugary drinks. Drink one less sugary drink and replace it with water, 100% juice or tea.
People are surprised that starting small and increasing over time can create a positive outcome in six months to a year. It also creates habits that people can continue over time.
Also, take the approach of leading by example. I go exercising with friends every week. Last week, for example, one of my patients ran into me while I was walking with friends around the mall. This is why people trust me. They know I am trying to live healthy, too. This is my solution: one person at a time.
Dr. Dae's website: www.healthydaes.org
Dr. Dae's Bio: