Why are we fat and what should we do about it?
That’s a collective “we” and I’m talking about the so-called “obesity epidemic” in this country. We’ve heard all sorts of theories and reasons for our steady weight gain – the sedentary “couch potato” lifestyle, TV, fast food, etc.
The newest study on this now includes the workplace as a partial source as well. As we’ve transitioned form more labor intensive and active manufacturing jobs to more sedentary jobs in an office environment, that too has helped expand our waistlines.
OK. I see no problem with that particular theory. The study says the change in our workplace activity has, on average, seen a decline of 120 to 140 calories a day in job related physical activity.
Sounds like something those interested in losing weight need to consider and remedy, right?
“If we’re going to try to get to the root of what’s causing the obesity epidemic, work-related physical activity needs to be in the discussion,” said Dr. Timothy S. Church, a noted exercise researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and the study’s lead author. “There are a lot of people who say it’s all about food. But the work environment has changed so much we have to rethink how we’re going to attack this problem.”
Really? See here’s where today’s “science” and I diverge. Thank you for the information Dr. Church, but while you may have hit upon something solid as a reason for increased obesity, and that information is useful to me, I don’t need anyone “attacking” the problem for me. So you can leave the “we” out of it. Because we all know what that usually means. And you can see it in the words of those who’ve taken an interest in this aspect of fighting obesity:
Researchers said it was unlikely that the lost physical activity could ever be fully restored to the workplace, but employers do have the power to increase the physical activity of their employees by offering subsidized gym memberships or incentives to use public transit. Some companies have set up standing workstations, and marketers now offer treadmill-style desks. Employers can also redesign offices to encourage walking, by placing printers away from desks and encouraging face-to-face communication, rather than e-mail.
“The activity we get at work has to be intentional,” Dr. Ainsworth said. “When people think of obesity they always think of food first, and that’s one side of it, but it’s high time to look at the amount of time we spend inactive at work.”
It shouldn’t be up to employers to have to provide incentives or subsidies. What happened to American willpower? Look, I lost 40 pounds and have kept it off (a year next month). While I wasn’t “obese” in the clinical sense, I was heavier than I needed to be and was starting to have a sugar problem (diabetes runs in my family). I started walking every day. I now do about 4 miles a day (day off every 5th day). That’s approximately 500 calories burned during a walk and I just finished up a physical where my doc said “you’re in great shape, I don’t need to see you for a year”. Seriously, it just wasn’t that hard. Blood pressure is down, weight is appropriate, cholesterol in the 130s, sugar in the green, all the right things.
And people, claiming that you’re just too busy or can’t make that sort of time is nonsense. You can. You just don’t want too. And if you can’t make the time to walk around your neighborhood for 30 minutes, you’ll certainly not have time to take advantage of a “subsidized” gym membership, will you?
The point, of course, is it is your (speaking collectively) responsibility to monitor and do something about your weight if it is a problem. Not business and certainly not government (whose solution is usually some one-size-fits-all abomination that penalizes everyone). The way to “attack” the problem is to recognize it and do something about it – not rely on others to do things for you. We all know that regardless of what others will spend to give you the opportunity to lose weight, for instance, unless you’re willing to make the lifestyle changes to do what is necessary, it is a waste of money and time.
You go to work to work, not lose weight. That’s on you. Not business.
My rant/pep talk for the day.