Fat-Proof Your Family: God's Way to Forming Healthy Habits for Life
by J. Ron Eaker, MD
Copyright © 2007 - Book Excerpt
Fat Is Not Where It's At!
Andy had not always been overweight. There was a time when he was about average, not too big, not too small. He worked well with others, so he was popular, but now he always had a feeling that people viewed him differently because of his size. He even believed that he had been passed over a couple of times when he knew he could do a job. He tried not to let the fact that he was bigger than others get in the way of enjoying life, but it was getting difficult.
Andy would come home after a hard day and snack on cookies and such, maybe have a soda, and wait on the woman in his life to get dinner ready. In the meantime he would do a little paper work, watch some TV, and diligently practice being sedentary. He would tell folks that it was his right to relax after a hard day. The last thing he wanted to do was exercise, which seemed like torture to him. Besides, when he tried sports, he noticed that he gave out before everyone else, and he was embarrassed. He was happy to just sit at home and vegetate, as he called it. He knew his weight was accumulating due largely to his inactivity, but hey, he was tired at the end of the day. At dinner, he consumed everything in front of him, whether hungry or not. He remembered being instructed years before to clean his plate, and he did what he was told. Before bed, there would be more TV and, of course, a small snack of leftover pound cake (aptly
named!). When the alarm clock erupted in the morning, it was out into the day and another round of unhealthy choices.
Sound familiar? You may be surprised to discover that Andy is ten years old and represents a huge number of kids in this country.
We are raising a generation of Pillsbury Doughboys and Doughgirls, and it is our fault. The good news is, there is hope. If fault lies with us, that means we can do something about it.
My sense is that you bought this book because you are genuinely concerned about your family's health. As a physician, but more important, as a parent, I empathize with your desire to help your family achieve its potential. You wouldn't be reading this if you weren't ready to take action and see that the people you love the most adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
This book will be your coach, cheerleader, and partner in your quest for fitness. God has given you all the tools you need to win the game; your charge is to use those tools effectively. However, God never said the game will be easy. If you have struggled your entire life with excessive weight and poor fitness habits, you have a special place in my heart. You have been blamed, shamed, and named for too long, and the pain is palpable. Nevertheless, I urge you to use that pain as motivation to change. Is your present "overfat" and "under fit" situation due to decisions you make on a daily basis? Sure it is, but that is too simplistic. People are wonderfully complicated beings, and there are probably a hundred reasons why you have struggled with your weight over the years, but it is time to uncover a practical approach to the question, "what now?" Let go of where you have been and start to visualize where you and your family can be.
Poor weight control is the number one health problem facing families today. An alarming statement in this age of AIDS, cancer, and heart disease, isn't it? And as mentioned earlier, unless we, as parents, change both our ways and our kids' habits, we may be facing the first generation of children that will die before their parents. That is an audacious assertion, so let me support this claim with some frightening statistics. As you digest this data, hold a photo of your family next to you, or at least picture your children and your spouse in your mind's eye.
* 58 million American adults are overweight; 40 million obese; 3 million morbidly obese.
* 60% of adults over twenty-five are overweight.
* 78% of Americans are not meeting basic activity level recommendations.
* 76% increase in Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes in adults thirty to forty years old since 1990.
* 80% of Type 2 diabetes is related to obesity.
* 70% of cardiovascular disease is related to obesity.
* 42% of breast and colon cancer is diagnosed among overweight individuals.
* 30% of gall bladder surgery is related to being overweight.
* 26% of overweight people have high blood pressure.
* 100,000 new cases of cancer each year are due to obesity.
Source: American Heart Association, 2004 data
Imagine two loaded 747 jetliners colliding midair and killing everyone on board: certainly a tragedy. Now imagine that happening every single day and you get a sense of the devastation caused by excessive fat.
You might be thinking, Sure this stuff sounds bad, but these are adults. They can choose to harm themselves if they want to. You're right, and indeed, that is what they are doing, but consider this:
* Among American children ages six to eleven, 18% of girls and 19% of boys are overweight.
* Among American adolescents ages twelve to nineteen, 19% of girls and 20% of boys are overweight.1
That's over 13 million overweight kids. The entire population of Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Kansas, and Alaska ... combined!
These are not numbers to be proud of! Are these your children, your family? Are we condemning them to a life of limits? Being big early in life inevitably translates into a greater risk of being big later. The likelihood of being overweight increases with age for both males and females, and overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of being overweight as adults. If one parent is overweight, that likelihood increases to 80 percent!2 Twenty percent (almost one-fifth) of our children over the age of six are overweight! If a quarter of our kids had AIDS, you could expect an immediate outcry. You wouldn't be able to turn on the TV without seeing some celebrity hosting a telethon. Weight control is a monumental problem—a monumental family problem.
Fat-Proof Your Family: God's Way to Forming Healthy Habits for Life by J. Ron Eaker, MD
Copyright © 2007; ISBN 978-0-7642-0413-5
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.
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