Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obesity: A National Concern

When it comes to actually naming national concerns, it is often easy to overlook those that are no longer considered in fashion. Sure, murder and socio-economic injustices rank high as any simple reading of Isaiah or minor prophet or Jesus might explain. But what of those concerns that involve the person? I am usually very careful not to point and say, "You're a sinner," because when I point one finger I usually have three more pointing back at me. Yes, it is true, I am a sinner too.

So I offer my idea of a national concern simply as a matter of information. We, as Americans, are growing so large that its tearing us apart...quite literally. According to a new study released today from Johns Hopkins University, it is expected that roughly 86% of Americans, or nearly 9 out of 10 Americans will be classified obese by 2030.

When one thinks of obesity, the conversations aren't about being 10 lbs. overweight or needing to get out and exercise more often. Sure, there are also many people whose bodies are simply larger than ours. Genetics and heredity play a role in many people's body shapes. However, the national problem of obesity is about being way overweight, whereas one person who is obese does not have to be so. And to this point, where we are growing larger, not because we're wired to do so but because of our lifestyle choices, this is where our national diet and lack of exercise puts us at risk. Given the meteoric rise of Insulin-related illnesses such as pancreatic cancer and Diabetes, obesity will be affecting us in ways both horrific and costly. And, given the challenges in healthcare reform and insurance coverage, we're a nation that does not need nor can it afford this kind of healthcare crisis.

The Apostle Paul told us that our bodies are a temple--that in it resides the Spirit of God. Should we not care for our bodies as temples? The way we go about doing that has a lot to do with not only exercise but what we put into it. From the way we eat to what we eat, we need to take serious our health responsibilities. Otherwise, the sins of doing otherwise may prove the prophet's warning that the sins of the parent visits their children and their children's children. Let's change how we eat and how we use our bodies--and how our children learn to eat and do as we do so that we can do our best to curb the obesity problem before it ravishes our nation, our communities, and ourselves.

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