Friday, January 7, 2011

Mirror Mirror

It has been said that perception is reality, but perhaps it’s time to update this popular expression.  How about “Reality is Reality”?  Americans are overweight, and getting bigger.  Diabetes caused by poor diets is one of this country’s fastest growing health problems, and the long-term cost of treating the disease will impact everyone’s wallet.

I came across this tidbit:

Despite surging obesity numbers in the U.S., a new survey finds that just one out of 10 Americans say their diet is unhealthy.

The survey, conducted by Consumer Reports, also found that while four in 10 admitted being "somewhat overweight," just 11 percent said they were very overweight or obese — a direct contradiction of previous weight measurements taken by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which show that 68 percent of Americans are overweight or obese.
"There does seem to be a disconnect," between reality and the answers most of us give when asked questions about our diet, how much exercise we get and our weight, said Molly Kimball, a registered dietitian at Ochshner's Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans. (from MyHealthNewsDaily by Karen Rowan)

“A disconnect”???  We certainly are a complex organism of rationalizations and self-deceptions.  68% of us are overweight or obese, and yet only 40% admit it.  My basic math skills tell me that 28% of people are overweight or obese, but do not recognize it.  Step One to recovery is admitting that there is a problem, so we have some work to do before we get to Step One as a nation. 
As troubling as that is, I find it equally troubling that at the other end of the spectrum, teenage girls are struggling with body image and increasingly obsessed about their own physical appearance to the point of self-induced illness.  Some waifs think they are too fat, and popular culture does nothing to dissuade them from this notion.  The American Dream for girls is no longer career, marriage, family.  It’s flat abs in 8 minutes a day.

In America, there are 2 certainties about our own body image (like politics, I might add):
·         The truth is somewhere in the middle (pun intended)
·         The closer you are to the situation, the harder it is to see the objective truth    

It is time to look at ourselves as individuals, and find our own healthy equilibrium between rest, exercise, diet, lifestyle, and weight.  The medical community and popular culture will sometimes be in sync with their messaging, and sometimes they will be at odds.  Our personal health is a combination of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.  “Healthy” is something that only we can define for ourselves, but in the meantime, take a long look at yourself in the mirror and a quick jog up two flights of stairs.  You’ll be closer to the truth after that.

1 comment:

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