Every so often when I have too much time on my hands, I get to thinking. Sometimes I begin to contemplate aging and how different the world will be when I'm old and gray. Who will be there to take care of me? What will our health care system be like? What diseases will plague our population? I think of our kids, some being diagnosed at the age of five with obesity and other preventable issues. Will our average lifespan soon dwindle away instead of continuing to climb to amazing feats of old age?
These are all important things to consider when raising our kids today because they truly are our future. They are the next politicians running our government, the next military personnel who will protect our country, the next teachers, doctors and lawyers who will be running our world. Thinking even further about the necessary capabilities that all human beings need to possess in order to live life to the fullest- both physically and mentally, I often wonder why our kids aren't better educated about their bodies and what they put in them.
Kids run to drugs and alcohol for many different reasons; peer pressure, poor self-esteem, boredom, etc. These are harmful substances that we are conditioned to avoid and fear for many different reasons- namely death. If you drink and drive, you will die or kill someone else. If you smoke pot, you will probably die too. If you sniff some coke, yep...you guessed it, you will die! Some of this is rational fear mongering to keep our kids away from the destructive lifestyle of drug and alcohol abuse, but where is the education on "death by food?" There are so many deadly diseases growing at a rapid rate caused by the over consumption of the very thing that is supposed to nurture us- FOOD. I often question if we are on the right track of teaching life's relevancy to our future leaders?
Type II Diabetes is a common side effect of obesity and carries with it many horrible health issues such as limb amputation, blindness and NASH (Nonalchoholic Steatohepatitis/liver damage). Diabetes is a disease that requires you to check your blood sugar every day by pricking your finger and then testing your blood with a little device. It can be managed quite well with a healthy diet and exercise, but many diabetics in this country are not versed on the proper way to begin living a healthy lifestyle and therefore just "settle" with the cards they are dealt. If you think doing cardio every morning is annoying, just think how frustrating it would have to be to prick your finger each day!
There's heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks and cancer just to name a few byproducts of overeating and obesity. Why are there no assemblies featuring people plagued with these issues like there were for illegal drugs when I was in elementary school? Is it that we put so much emphasis on vanity in this country that it might be insulting to make an example of someone who is obese and has physical and emotional ailments because of it? In church, why doesn't the preacher address the consequences of one of the seven deadly sins which is gluttony? Why doesn't he or she remind us that in the bible, our bodies are depicted as our "temples" which should never be abused by anything?
I think it's interesting that if a woman is fit and healthy in our society, she gets called "too skinny" and she "needs to go eat a cheeseburger", and yet you wouldn't dare say anything negative to an obese woman regarding her size. There seems to be some guilt associated with body image because of the obsession with the way we look. But overall, if someone eats right and takes care of their bodies then they are called "health nuts", like it's the most horrible thing in the world to be proactive with the only body you'll ever have. I think that all negative connotations need to be removed from living a healthy lifestyle and there needs to be more attention paid to the education of our society's addiction to food and the fatal side effects that result.
It's reality that we will all one day get old and eventually die. It is part of life and in knowing that one day we will be gone, we should all have a greater respect and consciousness of living a healthy lifestyle every single day. If for nothing else, live it to be positive role models for our kids- who are the next generation of mentors themselves.