We know that smoking is the leading cause of cancer deaths. But, did you know that if the trend continues, obesity and inactivity could surpass those numbers? A prominent doctor at the American Cancer Society, predicts that this could very well be the case. With the decrease in the smoking rate, coupled with an increase in the number of obese Americans, it is very likely to happen. In fact, a 2016 study in the New England Journal of Medicine linked excess body weight to 13 types of cancer. Are Americans not aware of this health risk, as the obesity rate has tripled since the early 70s.
We have seen countless healthy lifestyle campaigns from the likes of McDonald’s (“it’s what I eat and what I do…I’m lovin’ it”), the NFL (Fuel Up to Play 60), and even the White House (Let’s Move!). But is anyone really listening? Or, is it simply easier to stay with what is fast and convenient? Are we willing to sacrifice the health of our children and ourselves for the sake of those who can sway us with advertising? Choosing to believe that cancer cannot happen to us or those we love? Deciding we can put off for another day living a healthier lifestyle?
The truth can hurt, not in the literal sense. It can force us to look inside and ask ourselves some very difficult questions. Revealing insecurities, fears, and personal failings. Who wants to really do any of that? It takes courage and discipline to improve oneself. It can also require a lot of hard work and time. Reaping the rewards of a healthy lifestyle does not happen overnight. This can be very frustrating especially as society has conditioned us for immediate gratification with social media, cell phones, and fast food. Living a healthy lifestyle means going against the grain. Doing what a majority of people are not. But, it can be done. And deep down we know it.
The first step is awareness.