And is obesity the greatest threat to America’s health?

Do you see any connection here? If you believe that both are true, well, no need to read any further. Please stop now.

If you believe that global warming does indeed exist, then you are open to the possibility that obesity is not our greatest threat. Inactivity is.

In case you don’t know me very well, I don’t make definitive statements unless I have the evidence on which to stake my claim. And although there is plenty of evidence that obesity is a significant risk to our health, unless adjusted for fitness levels, the strength of that evidence is lessened. There is however, strong epidemiological evidence that shows that the lower the level of physical fitness, measured as aerobic capacity, the greater the risk of death and disease.

Dr. Steven Blair calls Americans’ physical inactivity “the biggest public health problem of the 21st century.” He is one of the world’s premier experts on exercise and its health benefits and was the senior scientific editor of the 1996 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health.

There is a strong relationship between health and physical activity. Those with the lowest levels of fitness are also those who spend the most on health care. Those with higher fitness levels have the lowest health care costs. Dr. Blair’s research also shows low fitness levels were the greatest predictors for death and disease, above and beyond the risks of obesity, smoking or high blood pressure.

Why are we not paying attention? Why does obesity continue to take the blame for our health crisis when it seems that much more can be solved by promoting physical activity than to encourage dieting? The evidence is overwhelming. Diets don’t work. Moving your body does.

Much like global warming, it may take us a while to realize our “inconvenient truth”. Becoming physically fit requires some personal effort, we can’t just sit back and let it happen. Literally.

Seriously, your “inconvenient truth” is that you have to take responsibility for moving your body. You can’t take a pill instead. You can’t have someone else do it for you. You have to determine that your body and your health are important enough to you to take good care of yourself and that means being physically active.

Sometimes things just don’t make sense. For example, why is it, with all the evidence that exists to support global warming, there are still those who say it’s a hoax? And why do we continue to believe that losing weight is the best thing we can do for our health, when indeed, moving our bodies is?

When things don’t add up, such as why do corporations have the largest profit margins ever this year and they still are not creating new jobs… and why has global warming been ignored for so long? I’ve learned that money and greed can often explain things. Just follow the money.

So, let’s look at who profits when we blame obesity for our health crisis. If we call obesity a “disease”, who benefits? If we continue to promote weight loss for better health, who benefits? If we promote physical activity for better health, who benefits?

I’ll answer that last question… you do.

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