Central Florida needs to break the obesity cycle – article from the Orlando Sentinel

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obesity_definitionAn article from this weekends Orlando Sentinel shared the opinion of the paper along with highlighting some initiatives in Central Florida that were enjoying success in the change movement. The write up cites choice making as the answer to change. We agree the correct choices are helpful, but what if people don’t know the correct choices or if there is other circumstances that have complicated the lives of so many facing obesity. Generally speaking, we think this article is a over simplification of the obesity epidemic in Central Florida – however, we are pleased that the message is being delivered and that local governments are willing to play a role in creating and providing weight loss encouragement to the citizens living in the area. The actual results will be the only matrix by which the success of these government programs. We have all seen so much waste and lip service from government that it is easy to be skeptical.

The courage and commitment we see here at GO on a daily basis reflects a general sentiment of change in the community and our patients are great examples for their families, co-workers and friends and with that – we say – “GREAT JOB!” and we recognize and applaud you! Your commitment and hard work are truly inspiring and this is what keeps us working hard everyday – for YOU!

Anyway, the article is a thought provoking look at obesity from the context of health, expense and ideas…. enough so we wanted to re post the article here on our site.

Here is the Article from the Orlando Sentinel published on Sunday May 19th, 2013 :

Not so long ago, about one in every 10 adult Floridians was obese.

Today, if you line up four Floridians, one of them will be obese.

The good news? At least we’re not Mississippi, where every third person has a body mass index of 30 or higher — the definition of

The body mass index is a critical measure of the relationship between weight and height, a ratio that’s getting more out of whack every year.

And it doesn’t look good for young people, either. More than 10 percent of adolescents and children between 2 and 5 are obese.

The rates have been accelerating like a runaway train, and today not a single state in the nation has an obesity rate of less than 20 percent of its population.

If you’re a lean, mean exercise machine, suppress the urge to crack a joke or sniff your disdain for fatties.

This is your problem, too.

Everyone suffers from the obesity epidemic, whether it’s the couch potato who ends up with chronic heart disease or the triathlete whose insurance premiums go up to pay for those illnesses.

One study estimated that health-care costs for obese people are 42 percent higher than for people of normal weight, and that the burden of treating obesity has increased to nearly 10 percent of all medical spending. Possibly as much as $150 billion per year.

That’s a staggering amount of money to pay for an out-of-control problem.

But not everyone is standing by while the nation gets super-sized.

In Eatonville, Mayor Bruce Mount is leading twice-weekly walks through the city. Residents like 74-year-old walker Jurlean Tompkins are seeing results. So is Tompkins’ doctor, who has been able to cut back her diabetes medication. Diabetes is rampant in Eatonville, where an estimated 25 percent of the population suffers from the disease, nearly triple the national average.

Eatonville is part of an axis of cities promoting healthier living, along with Winter Park and Maitland. The cities are working through the Healthy Central Florida partnership to encourage lifestyles that steer people clear of obesity.

Similar initiatives should be taking root in communities throughout Central Florida. Like the tri-city mayors, elected officials are in the unique position of not only setting an example but also setting up programs to help their constituents and, in the process, help their communities become better places to live.

Individuals, too, need to accept more personal responsibility for their health, and set better examples for their children. Because no matter how many programs are launched or how many medical advances are made, our nation can’t turn back the tide of obesity if people aren’t willing to make better choices.