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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Patella


The Real Pandemic

When the COVID pandemic hit the one important factor that stood out was that if you have health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, lung conditions, your susceptibility increases as well as a higher risk of more serious effects, possibly even death.  More simply put those of us who keep our health at a priority in our lives have less risk.  Is this what it takes for the masses to take their health more seriously?  This is the campaign we should be focused on. I am not referring to a little roll accumulated after the holidays.  This is a pandemic stemming from unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle.  Both will kill you. It also seems to me that if we LOVE ourselves we would take better care of ourselves.  You didn’t expect that did you?  If I love myself why wouldn’t I make better choices for myself in terms of food, exercise and sleep? Those better choices will result in being healthier.  You may say “I love myself - I just have to work hard to provide for myself and my family”.  Well how about working smarter and taking care of your health so your family has you around longer to enjoy life together? In the 1970’s the obesity rate was 15% of America.  In 2016 the obesity rate was 45%.  Billions of dollars were spent on programs to curb these numbers, to help America help themselves. The contradiction was it was more expensive to eat healthier; FDA actions were not aligned with those messages; and education to low-income groups was not stressed enough. As of January 2022 73% of America is considered obese.  The United States holds the 12th highest place for obesity in the world.  Obesity is a pandemic but what are we doing about it? Disease affiliated with obesity: Type 2 diabetes              Infertility                        High blood pressure                   Heart disease                 Certain cancers (breast, colon, and endometrial)          Stroke                 Gallbladder disease        Fatty liver disease          High cholesterol             Sleep apnea and other breathing problems                Chronic lower back pain Arthritis                          Osteoarthritis, particularly of the knees Not a very pretty list but each of these associated with obesity are preventable.  Even if you are genetically predisposed to one or more of these.  This is the message that should be promoted to America.  72 billion dollars are spent every year on weight loss programs.  The cost for weight loss surgery ranges from $20,000 to $25,000 per procedure. With a higher fat content in your body your heart has to work harder; all of your organs have to work harder to do their job and it puts a strain on your body.  With obesity your cholesterol is usually higher, your arteries have more fat in the blood stream so moving your blood is harder, your lungs have to struggle with the extra weight just to breathe.  It is a fact that higher body fat reduces your cognitive functioning in terms of speed and response time. In 1982 I had gained about 40 pounds due to several lifestyle changes and the discovery of self-gratification of certain foods.  I was making positive changes in my life but when I looked in the mirror I was not happy with what I saw.  I took charge and that was the beginning of my career in health and fitness.  It took time, discipline and believing that I could do it.  I rarely lusted after foods and never questioned what my goals were.  It was the right thing to do for me, my self esteem, and my health.  In my faith the word “repent” is often used but vastly misinterpreted.  It actually means to change your mind.  Instead of spending hours tempting myself with my diet restrictions I focused on my improvement and the positive outcome of reaching my goals. I changed how I viewed life and my focus. Fast forward 40 years.  There is so much more I can do in a day that others in my age bracket are not able to do. My focus and money are not on doctors appointments and medications but on living my life and accomplishing the things I look forward to. COVID will be around for a long time.  It comes in many forms and keeps recreating itself.  The facts remain the same: poor health results in greater risks from the disease.

Yes you can spend plenty of money to lose weight, join a gym, join a weight loss program.  But why?  One step in prevention is all it takes – 20 minutes 4-5 times a week and cut back in sugar.  Do you love yourself “enough”? Baby boomers are one of the largest populations in the world and people are living longer.  They-we- want to maintain our freedom, control medical expenses and keep enjoying life in our later years.  Do you? Cheryl Patella, February

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