Imagine what the world would be like if everyone was healthy, without any health scares. There is no cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Could this world ever exist? If it did, what would happen to the pharmaceutical industry, the weight loss clinics, diet fads, bariatric surgeons, and oncology practices. The world as we know it would be vastly different. Multi-million dollar companies would fail to exist. If only this could be a reality. Life would be easier and without pain.
Unfortunately, society is filled with individuals who have choices on how to live, what to eat, drink, and smoke. Choices about exercise, work, and entertainment. All choices. Many of the choices we are making today lead us down a path of disease and a lower quality of life. Whether we realize it or not.
The question that perplexes many healthcare professionals is why. Why is this the trend today? It’s like sitting on a train track as the train is quickly approaching and not moving. Companies can claim they are doing their part to build awareness regarding this epidemic through advertising campaigns, new product development and charitable giving. However, just because a fast food restaurant adds skim milk and apples to their kids meals, does that make it healthy? Is that enough to make us change our eating habits?
What about the NBA and the NFL encouraging kids to get healthy through their specific initiatives? While this is certainly commendable, why does either organization need to tell us how to raise our children? Isn’t this something we should already be doing? Meanwhile, we continue to attend games and eat the processed foods served there. And our obesity trend continues to climb. Perhaps the extra weight people are carrying is now seen as the norm? We look around and this is what we see.
We need to realize that a company that advertises a campaign for healthier living is just that. An advertisement. Yes, it is talking about being healthy, but it is about the company itself and it’s own visibility among its target audience. Much like a corporation sponsoring an event. The corporation does it for visibility and branding purposes. Unfortunately, human nature typically requires an ultimatum to change, like significant health scares tend to bring. You just need to watch “My 600-lb. Life” to realize that.
In the end it comes down to choice. Our choice. Every day, making the right choices for ourselves to live healthier. It means taking awareness and doing something with it. Action. Deep down we know we are hurting our body when we smoke, drink in excess, eat processed foods, stay sedentary. The real question we need to ask ourselves is why don’t we care to stop when we see the train barreling down the tracks at us? Do we really need health scares to take action?