Thursday, February 12, 2009

Like a chipmunk harvesting chestnuts

I just read that the number of overweight and obese U.S. military personnel continues to grow like their girth. In 1998, there were 25,652 or 1.6 percent of the entire armed forces diagnosed as overweight; now it is 68,786 or 4.4 percent of the total. This follows the national weight-gaining tendency of the general U.S. population where 20 percent of Americans between ages 18 and 34 years are considered obese.

So while the economy continues to shrink, the girth of many Americans continues to grow. Over half of the U.S. population is overweight or obese and have an increased risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, osteoarthritis, stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, respiratory problems and even some cancers.

There’s no shortage of daily news warning us about the perils of being overweight and obese. Here’s a sampling of recent news headlines: (1) obese moms are more likely to have babies with birth defects; (2) obesity hurts recovery after colon cancer surgery; (3) obesity may increase risk of diverticulitis; and (4) mom’s obesity tied to higher infant mortality.

The comforts of American life and abundant food have got to be the culprits for this national health dilemma.

What should an overweight or obese American do? The short answer is to eat less and exercise more but that’s too simple and it might work. It may take a serious health scare for an overweight or obese person to hit “rock bottom” and make these healthy lifestyle changes. They must be willing to reprogram the emotional reward system embedded deep in their brain so that healthy eating and exercise feels better than shoving excessive food down their throats to cope with stress and the other emotional pains in their lives.

Until then, they will go about their business self-medicating themselves with excessive food and drink, looking like a chipmunk harvesting chestnuts.

Pax Domini sit simper vobiscum


Anonymous said...

Amen, Brother. Good post.

Pierini Fitness said...

Hi Charles,

I thank a young man I know for the "like a chipmunk harvesting chestnuts" phrase. He said it to describe himself when he got a little disgusted with himself about his girth growth.

Thanks for the visit.

Anonymous said...

WE all agree obesity is a major health program in the U.S. Most agree that diets, in the long run, don't work very well. While we have been helping patients change eating and exercise habits for some 30 years we do not claim success with everyone. Thoee who are successful getting rid of excess weight once and for all are those who have the courage and patience to examine their emoional, irrationl reaons for eating too much and exercising too little. I recently wrote a magazine article: "Some Women Suffer from a Thin and Beautiful (T&B) Phobia" e-mail me at and I will send you a copy. You may find yourself less judgmental and more understanding of overweight people. Ron Soderquist, Ph.D.

Pierini Fitness said...

Thanks for the post Dr. Soderquist. I have sent you an e-mail and look forward to receiving your article. I will read it with an "empty cup" mind.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!