6 Organizations that are Fighting Childhood Obesity

2 Weeks to Health is dedicated to encouraging public education regarding health and fitness. Our currently reach is minimal compared to some larger non-profits who have a larger reach for stopping obesity. This article points out just a few organizations that focus their efforts at least partly on childhood obesity prevention and reduction. I encourage everyone to check them out and donate your time or money as you see fit. It will take more than a village to make a cultural change in how we eat and view our health, and these organizations are just part of the 2 Weeks to Health mission to encourage, education, and exercise.

Obesity Action Coalition http://www.obesityaction.org/

Campaign to End Obesity http://www.obesitycampaign.org/

National Childhood Obesity Foundation http://www.ncof.org/

Choices: Fighting Childhood Obesity http://www.choicesforkids.org/

World Obesity http://www.worldobesity.org/

Alliance for a Healthier Generation https://www.healthiergeneration.org/

Do you know any other organizations that are fighting obesity, small or large? Please comment below.

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What is Obesity?

Obesity can be defined in many ways, but there is perhaps only one way we should look at it. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines obesity as “a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body” and can be measured using body mass index (BMI). Simply put, if you are carrying extra fat and you exceed the medical standard for how much you weigh for how tall you are, then you are by definition considered obese.

There are two common ways being diagnosed with obesity are received by the patient: shame and logic. Shame is a feeling of emotional pain and humiliation that comes with insecurity and the failure to live up to their own or someone else’s standards. If someone has lived their whole life believing and reassuring themselves that they are not obese and someone informs them that they meet the definition of an obese individual, it is common for them to feel ashamed. This action and subsequent feeling of shame have recently been called “fat shaming”. In recent years, showing concern for someone’s health by asking them to exercise with them or eat a healthy meal has been considered an elusive but hurtful way of fat shaming.

The other way a diagnosis of obesity can be received is with logic. Being diagnosed with obesity should be thought of the same way as any other disease and a prescription should be made for diet and exercise. The truth is obesity is a serious medical condition that has a built-in positive feedback loop of exacerbated disease. This means the worse your obesity is, the worse you will experience other types of disease. Obesity leads to hypertension, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, sleep disorders, cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. It decreases your quality of life through decreased mobility and increased joint pain. Your medical bills will be higher thus you will have less money, and you are more likely to experience depression if you are obese.

So what is obesity? It is more than just an opportunity to fat shame, it is a medical diagnosis that is likely a significant limiting factor in the patient being able to live a happy and fulfilling life. It is more than just a definition of someone’s weight, it foreshadows the story of one’s life by predicting both physical and mental disease. When someone feels they have been shamed due to their weight, they reserve the right to feel ashamed, especially if there was malicious intent. However, we as a culture need to start seeing obesity as a treatable disease that when cured can significantly increase the quality of someone’s life.

To help combat the rising obesity epidemic we need to start making health and fitness part of our culture. To learn more about how we can do this, read The Grassroots Health Movement, an article about changing our nation’s culture one person at a time.

Obesity is Not Just a Health Issue – Things Worth Sharing

2 Weeks to Health predominately focuses on trying to get our readers on the path to a healthier life, but we have an underlying movement to try to reduce obesity one person at a time. Obesity not only affects the mental and physical health of individuals, but it also has security and economic outcomes. The amount we spend on healthcare can be greatly reduced if we all vow to live healthier lives. Imagine how much money we could save if we didn’t need to spend money on prescription medications, visits to the doctor, and other medical treatments. In this TEDx talk, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling discusses the effects of obesity on national security and the economy.

‘Things Worth Sharing’ is the portion of the website where I share interesting and useful health and fitness articles not written by 2 Weeks to Health. Nothing is advertised, everything is awesome.

The Top 5 TED Talks on Health and Fitness

For those who are unfamiliar with TED Talks, TED is an organization that hosts conferences around the world so people can share their ideas that are worth sharing. Usually these ideas worth sharing tackle some kind of societal issue. There are hundreds of talks about health and fitness on TED, but here are 5 of my favorites!

Can you be so healthy it kills you? AJ Jacobs took every little piece of health advice he received and followed it, leading in this talk titled How Healthy Living Nearly Killed Me. This talk is filled with humor and great facts about living a healthy and balanced life.

“We are literally going to sleep our ways to the top!” Sleep is incredibly important for our health, and this talk by Arianna Huffington talks about how if we want to succeed, we need to get more sleep.

In Emily Balcetis’ talk titled Why Some People Find Exercise Harder Than Others, we dig deep into the perception of exercise. Mentality is often more important than physical ability when it comes to living a healthier life, and this talk discusses how our perceptions can change our mentality.

Mick Cornett, the Mayor of Oklahoma City, talks about his own problems with obesity, and then how he analyzed his town to help make other healthier too in this talk titled How an Obese Town Lost a Million Pounds. What I like about this talk is it shows that once we learn how to live healthier, we should spread our wealth of knowledge and start a local movement starting from the grassroots level.

“This could be the first generation in which our kids have a shorter lifespan than we do.” Dean Ornish gives his talk The Killer American Diet That’s Sweeping the Planet, and it’s definitely one to watch. It gives a good world perspective on how obesity affects us as a whole and how we can work to combat it.

 

Author: Scott Van Hoy – Click Here to view the author’s profile

 

What Santa Really Does During the Off Season

Every Christmas Santa visits about a billion homes around the world to bring gifts to all the good girls and boys. During each visit, Santa accepts a bite of a cookie and a sip of milk to show he was there. This means each house Santa consumes about 75 Calories per household or 75 billion calories in one night!

The average person will consume about 750,000 calories in a single year. This means Santa is really packing them in on Christmas! After Christmas ends, the elves will begin building toys for next year, but obviously Santa has some calories to burn off! What exactly does Santa have to do to burn off the 74.999 billion calories? Let’s do the math in terms of exercises!

In the off season, Santa needs to run 225 million miles, conduct 26.6 million hours of burpees, swim for 13.7 million hours, AND conduct mountain climbers for 13.3 million hours to burn off his Christmas shenanigans. Considering there are only 8760 hours in a year, Santa has his work cut out for him to get back in shape for the next holiday season! Next time you feel too sore or tired to workout, just remember somewhere at the North Pole Santa is getting his exercise on.

I would love to hear from you! Shoot any questions or comments to 2weekstohealth@gmail.com

Quote of the Week – Dec 19

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it” -Art Williams

Whether you’re doing the 2 Weeks to Health Challenge or your own steps to become a healthier individual, set your goals knowing it’s not going to be easy. Along the way you will encounter sweat, tears, and often a lack of motivation. You must push through because health goals are worth it in the end. There’s no better feeling that hitting that first weight milestone, running your fastest mile time, or increasing your weight on the bench press. But in order to reach that feeling it won’t be easy. Push on, work hard, and stay motivated. It’s going to be worth it.

Do you have a favorite quote? Send it to 2weekstohealth@gmail.com and we will feature you in one of the upcoming weeks!

Quote of the Week – 12 Dec

“Don’t stop when it hurts, stop when you’re done!” – Anonymous

We will all have those workouts where we get 3/4 of the way through and our lungs are burning, we can’t talk without gasping for air, and our muscles want to quit. Even when it hurts, it’s important to remember that you will get the most out of your workout if you push through and finish what you started. Your body might tell you no, but your mind is more powerful that your body. Go in with the mindset that it will be challenging, and that you will conquer the challenge, regardless of the efforts it takes. Then when you’re done, you will know you are in full control of your mind and body.

Do you have a favorite quote? Send it to 2weekstohealth@gmail.com and we will feature you in one of the upcoming weeks!

 

Quote of the Week – 5 Dec

“Thinking and doing are two very different things”

I’ve heard friends and family say all too often “I’m going to get back in shape” or “I’m going to lose weight”. Those are my least favorite quotes. Those quotes show good intentions but not good actions. Thinking you’re going to reach your health goals is nothing without the actions to support it. Don’t skip the step that turns thoughts into action, because to reach your health goals they need to come off out of your mind and into the physical world.

Quote of the Week – Nov 28

“Don’t ever, ever ring the bell” – Admiral McRaven

This week is another Admiral McRaven quote. William McRaven was a U.S. Navy SEAL, and during SEAL training if you wanted to quit, all you had to do was ring the bell mounted for everyone to see. Quitting was easy, succeeding in training was not. If you set a health goal for yourself, it is very easy to ring the bell and give up. But don’t ever, ever ring the bell. No matter how hard it gets, always keep your goal in mind, and keep pushing yourself until you achieve it.

The Grassroots Health Movement

Encourage, Educate, Exercise

In a study released by the CDC in 2015, almost 40 percent of American adults over the age of 20 are obese, while an additional 30 percent are overweight. This means 70% of Americans are putting themselves at a greater risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease. With such a high number of us on the heavy side, I began wondering what kind of culture this is creating.

The American culture as a whole has begun to accept that being overweight is okay. With modern medicine being as advanced as it is, and most people holding jobs that do not require strenuous work, it has become culturally ok if someone wants to live their life in the 300-pound range. I understand that it is wrong to push people to change when they are not seeking change themselves, as it can make people feel uncomfortable. However, we need to begin to create a culture that fosters more people taking time out of their day to work on their health. I don’t think it will take government programs to bring down the overweight percentage from 70% to a lower level. Instead, it will take a cultural shift driven by us, the citizens.

In my recent article about a grassroots solution to obesity, I mentioned that words become action, and action becomes habits. To add onto that, collective habit becomes culture. Culture has a drastic effect on how a member of that culture behaves. Let’s look at the military as an example. When young men and women join the military, they are all within weight limits, but vary in their levels of fitness. Immediately from day one, military culture takes hold, and part of that culture includes daily workouts. Within a few months, someone who maybe has never worked out a day in their life may crank out 20 pull-ups at a time. The military culture drives soldiers to stay in shape, the same as the current American culture drives people to underestimate the importance of their health.

What does this culture look like in the office? Let’s say you are working in an office with 10 colleagues. Statistically, 4 of them will be obese, 3 of them will be overweight, 2 of them will have a healthy weight and exercise often, and 1 will be in great shape and work out regularly. Regardless of which one of these employees you are, you can take the same three steps to change your office’s culture to make it more healthy: Encourage, Educate, and Exercise.

Encourage: Any time one of your colleagues decides to make a healthy decision, offer positive feedback. If George decides to eat a salad instead of a burger, go to the park with his kids instead of a movie, or hit the gym after work, be friendly and say something “That’s awesome, I love going the park with my kids. It feels great getting out and stretching after sitting all day. Do you plan on making it a weekly thing?” This is a subtle encouragement for going to the park again, helping George stay active.

Educate: Learn and teach. Always try to learn more about how to live healthier, and spread your knowledge. If your colleagues enjoy bringing desserts into the office to share, try bringing in a kick butt sugar-free dish one day and see if anyone notices. Take small steps to show that healthier eating doesn’t mean you have to eat tofu for every meal. If the office likes to have a company outing every once in a while, volunteer to organize the next event and choose to do something active and fun like dodgeball. Show that exercise can be a lot of fun. Overall, share your knowledge in a non-intimidating way.

Exercise: This means set the example. To try to change the culture, get out and exercise, and try to eat healthy yourself. Don’t be like crossfitters and tell everyone every minute what you’re doing. When you’re looking good, eventually someone will mention it or ask for help, providing the opportunity to share your knowledge.

If everything goes well, encouraging, educating, and exercising will motivate a couple of your colleagues to start making some changes to live healthier. Now you might have 3, 4, or even 5 of your co-workers talking consistently about your health as common office talk. A culture of healthy living has begun to form.

It only takes one person to change the culture of a small group, but it takes time. As more small groups, families, or friends groups change their health culture, soon the collective American culture will begin to change, and the obesity percentage should begin to decrease. So be the change, start the movement toward better health, it only takes one to make a difference. You are the root of change.